Now that 2018 has officially wrapped up?, It’s time for a look back at this year’s best-looking fashion sites. Not only are we going to look at these stunning websites, but we’re also going to analyze each one and go over some great overall thematic tips that we can learn from them. We aren’t going to get super granular here; this is about the big picture.

No! We aren’t going to include any of our own works — people tell us that would be vain. But, if you really want to know what we did this year (of course you do!) check out our portfolio.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the fashion sites that stopped the show this year (in no particular order.)

SWEAR London

SWEAR London

old school cool

Here’s the thing, SWEAR London’s website isn’t pushing any boundaries. In fact, we would venture to say that it’s using one of the most commonly used thematics (white-on-color with lots of space, a.k.a “minimalist.”)

But, just because it’s not insanely unique doesn’t mean that it isn’t well done. In fact, this is one of the best examples of theme congruency on our list. Everything ties together wonderfully.

Sure, everyone loves a little negative space (it looks great,) but SWEAR London isn’t just using negative space, it’s abusing the color palette in the best kind of way.

What can we learn? This site is a perfect example of using colors, videos, and pictures to create a perfectly rounded image. From the retro-90s vibes to the off-neon colors, every element in SWEAR London’s website feels like it has a place.

There’s a certain “retro clunkiness” to the whole website, and the large images and bold fonts are paired nicely with each small micro-interaction in the nav bar. Really, SWEAR has created a website that seems to melt seamlessly into their products and style.

Negative space is simply used as a way to show off all of those branded elements, not as a cover for a lack of design or creativity.

Stine Goya

Stine Goya

awkward, unique, quirky

There’s a stark difference between using minimalism as a mechanism of conformity and using it as a mechanism of branding. Stine Goya has found a way to make minimalism speak volumes. This quirky website has playfully placed images, imperfect alignment, and bold, in-your-face font placements.

Stine Goya is all about colorfully printed dresses and throwback styles, which their website lets you know immediately. Images are placed in non-traditional locations, and hovering over those images sparks imaginative micro-interactions (like color fading and non-traditional filter placement.)

Really, Stine Goya exists in the friction between minimalism and maximalism. They’ve done an incredible amount with a small number of options. The nav bar is wedged on the side, but it barely pops over images, giving it the feeling of being slightly out-of-place.

Browsing Stine Goya is awkward — in the best kind of way.

What can we learn? You can do a lot with a little. By playing around with nav bar locations, micro-interactions, image placements, and alignment, you can leverage the speed and UX capabilities of minimalism while still making your website wholly unique.

You can be completely on-brand and still try to erase as many clunky UI options as possible. Stine Goya may push aesthetic boundaries with their awkward UI and bizarre mouse, but the website feels like a breath of fresh air in a slowly conforming environment.

Web design should celebrate uniqueness. It’s one of the few areas where you can let customers know who you are by leveraging stunning visuals to create a one-of-a-kind browsing experience.

Stine Goya isn’t your average fashion brand, and they want you to know it!

Femme & Fierce

Femme & Fierce

fierce, bold, artsy

The fashion space is saturated in competition, so when we see websites like Femme & Fierce, they blow us away. As web design moves towards a more robust, entertaining, and consolidated user experience, websites like Femme & Fierce are leveraging fun browsing as a way to stay ahead of the pack.

Each click, scroll, movement, and interaction on this website feels fresh and playful. Images move, interact, and feel fluid, while scrolling over nearly any site element bursts happy little micro-interactions that keep the entire UX unique and interesting.

What can we learn? Femme & Fierce wants browsing to be an experience. Each little playful animation and micro-interaction gives the user a quick breather as they continue to browse through image-after-image of merchandise and goods.

All of these unique little moments encircle product — making merchandise the focal points of each small interaction.

Not only does Femme & Fierce stand out from the competitors — it redefines what browsing a fashion website should be like, fun, unique, and extraordinarily human.

ETQ Amsterdam

ETQ Amsterdam

Products, typography, sleek

ETQ Amsterdam tiptoes a fine line between eCommerce store and art gallery. The entire website is drenched in high-quality product photos. There’s something unbelievably profound about leveraging your own merchandise as the primary aesthetic of your site.

Of course, being from the Netherlands, it’s no surprise that the backbone of ETQ is still a very sleek minimalist look. But, between the lines, there’s a really maximal feel. Again, this is a perfect example of leveraging brand and culture to create a result that’s stunning, beautiful, and, ultimately, unique.

What can we learn? Sometimes selling product involves selling the idea of your product. ETQ sells minimalist, bold, and very Dutch fashion, and their website makes that abundantly clear.

Carl Edmond

Carl Edmond

handcrafted, artisanal, craftsmanship

In line with previous examples, Carl Edmond does a great job of leveraging brand as an aesthetic. This watch shop likes to use glossy images of celebrities posed in ways that ever-so-subtly shows off their watches. The website is the same.

As you scroll down through the perfectly misaligned photos, you’ll notice that the background subtly changes hues to match the product. Specifically, the background fades into a rose hue, which matches the newest line of Carl Edmond watches (rose gold.)

What can we learn? Again, this is a branded website. Each element perfectly reflects Carl Edmond. You don’t even have to read that Carl Edmond is creating minimal-yet-affordable watches, you could have guessed by the design. This website sells the idea of luxury while remaining incredibly striking and accessible.

artist designing

Wrap Up

These are the websites that blew us away in 2018. As always, we think that aligning design and branding is critical towards the future success of small-to-medium sized businesses. If you can create a website that screams, well, you, then you’ve won in our book. This is particularly important for eCommerce brands, who can leverage goods as the aesthetic backbone of their website.

If you’re looking for a design agency that’s ready to help you create a responsive, beautiful, and well-tuned Shopify website that reflects your brand identity, contact us.