We've all been there: Your bestie is skipping town, so you shamelessly request that they bring you back something special from their jaunt abroad—something that, despite your best efforts, you cannot find stateside. While normally this amiable badgering is restricted to one or two times a year, now there might not be a need to do it at all. Thanks to a slew of newly launched (and re-launched) e-commerce sites, you can take your digital shopping habit global all on your own, from the fluorescent glare of your tablet. Here are three we're bookmarking:
Up & Rising
We're all familiar with the big-name companies that are based overseas (Prada, Hermès, Acne—the list goes on), but for the under-the-radar brands that are just as fashionable but haven't yet exploded in the market, look no further than this newly-launched e-boutique. Its name signifies everything it's about: up-and-coming labels that are taking off around the world. Founder Lena Krups, a former buyer at Saks and Michael Kors, launched the platform as a portal for international fashion to be presented to a global audience. "I realized there was a lack of support for talented, yet unknown designers," she tells InStyle. "They end up working second- or third-tier jobs at large design houses, and, in my opinion, they were wasting their potential for personal success." Currently, Krups features over 25 designers on her site. Each time a new talent is discovered, Up & Rising will highlight that collection in their quarterly e-magazine.
Consider Alexandra Voyatzakis your impossibly stylish foreign friend who scours the globe for rare, personal gifts exclusively for you. That's essentially what her e-commerce site, Alekka, does on the regular. Created as a platform to bring the world's most beautiful, hard-to-find accessories available to you within five to seven business days, the site offers a curated range of handbags, jewelry and sunnies from all corners of the earth. You'll find familiar names, like Frends and Sunday Somewhere, but also discover some you've likely never heard uttered within a 3,000-mile radius. And that was precisely Voyatzakis's goal. "There are pieces made by well-known designers and completely one-of-a-kind pieces they won't find anywhere else," she says. "We aim to find rare treasures that no one else on the streets will be wearing." Zara lovers, take note.
If you have a tendency to online shop, you've likely heard of Lyst. The site, which launched in 2010, functions as a universal shopping cart in that it culls goods from hundreds of other countries and makes them available in just a few clicks or swipes. What separates Lyst from the pack, however, is that it lets its customers create their very own online store based on their favorite brands, enabling them to buy products from multiple sites (like Saks, Alexander Wang, and Lane Crawford) directly through Lyst in one basket, so you can effectively kiss multiple browser windows goodbye for good. Now, with a facelift (a new logo and redesign) and highly clickable, shoppable galleries, we're even more likely than we were before to shop it—if that was even possible.