7 of the Best Premium High-Street Brands to Shop in 2024

Ah, the great British high street. Over the years—especially the past, say, five to ten years—there’s no denying that the high street has faced some turbulent times. The rise of online shopping already seemed like an insurmountable challenge to overcome without the onset of a deadly virus that caused an unprecedented shutdown of physical shops and that all-important foot traffic. All of this, alongside our increased awareness of fast fashion and the vastly important consideration of its negative impact on our environment.

Whether the industry is ready or not, the time for the high street to make some significant changes, level up and reinvent itself has come. Of course, for the giants of the UK high street, that process was never going to be quick or easy, and the challenges these brands face are without a doubt ongoing. However, there are some smaller-scale and more under-the-radar brands that have already seized this opportunity for renewal; even some newer names have managed to break through the traditionally static high-street landscape in the UK and emerge thriving in recent years to serve us consumers in more modern and relevant ways. 

Enter what we’re coining the high, high street. This is a new class of brands that appear to be carving out a more boutique-feeling, premium space on the high street. These brands are catering to those looking to shop more responsibly, with enough disposable income to consider a “buy less but better” approach. As a result, amongst them, you’re likely to find more of a focus on sustainable practices and the quality of fabrics. And whilst we’d still class them as “relatively” affordable, with the increasingly expensive mid-range and luxury market for context, they do also come with (mostly justifiably) higher price points than you might find at say, your H&Ms or Mangos

Monikh wears a new denim set from premium high-street brand, Hush. 

We’re certainly not in a position to say all of these premium high-street brands are thoroughly sustainable. Some, like Massimo Dutti (a sister brand to Zara under the Inditex conglomerate umbrella), are still guilty of fast-fashion practices. But, there is at least a common thread across all of these brands’ collections: a move towards fewer, tighter edits of more classic, anti-trend designs using better quality materials like leather, organic cotton and cashmere that are designed to be worn for many years, not simply to cater to a given season’s microtrends. This approach alone has upped their appeal in the modern landscape, and in our opinion, is the crux of what sets these brands apart and makes them feel wholly more elevated than the average high-street shop in 2024; especially at a time when quiet-luxury, classic minimalism and timeless pieces are so pertinent in the fashion industry as a whole. 

So, which brands are we talking about exactly? Well, some, like Jigsaw, Whistles and Reiss, you’ll probably be familiar with as recognisable UK high-street labels. You might even be a little surprised to hear about their inclusion in our list, but the numbers don’t lie. According to Retail Gazette, Jigsaw’s sales “surged 19% in its year to the end of January… [in] a stark turnaround for the brand, which had been struggling even before the pandemic amid a tough mid-market fashion sector”. Reiss’ FY23 sales are expected to be up +25% compared to 2022, in a record year for sales and profit.

Then, there are newer and lesser-known brands like Aligne which bravely launched in 2020 but already count the fashion industry’s most stylish insiders as staunch supporters; Hush which had a refresh last year that put it firmly back on the fashion radar, and US-based Reformation which has recently expanded to five bricks-and-mortar stores on our soil.

Keep scrolling and you’ll find out more about why we’re backing these high, high-street brands for 2024, as well as capsule shopping edits of the best new-season buys to invest in from each of them. 

In its own words, “Aligne is the brand that has been missing from the great British high street for so, so long.” And we’re tempted to agree. Launching only four years ago in 2020 (brave, very brave), Aligne already counts a wealth of fashion-industry insiders as fans thanks to its luxe, high-end feel but accessible (and more conscious) approach to design. Editors and influencers alike are all vying to wear the brand, and perhaps most importantly, to recommend it to their friends and audiences—a feat that can often take young brands years to achieve.

Who What Wear UK commerce writer Florrie Alexander says, “Aligne has become a brand that I keep coming back to for a few reasons. It manages to mix elevated design with affordable price points and gives real transparency on how the pieces are made.” Our editor-in-chief Hannah Almassi is a fan of how the brand’s classics are both “practical and joyful”, and certainly never boring. “The female-led, East London–based label is beloved for its unique, high-quality take on core wardrobe essentials. Mindful and transparent in its production, Aligne also manages to provide accessible price points and fantastic design credibility,” she says.

You won’t find any excessively large collections here, just tight edits of statement-making essentials that you’ll undoubtedly reach for again and again. A handful of new pieces drop weekly (and regularly sell out), so you’re going to want to keep an eye out. 

Hush may have been around for the last 20 years but this season, the London-based brand founded by Australian Mandy Watkins had a relaunch of sorts that has put it firmly back on our radar. It wasn’t a particularly groundbreaking overhaul (take that as a positive), but more of a reimagining. The brand has doubled down on its DNA of effortless, laid-back and most importantly, wearable style, but the designs and campaign imagery feel undeniably fresh and modern.

Like a lot of the brands on this list, Hush is focusing on versatile pieces that can be worn season after season—a perfect black tailored coat or a crisp white T-shirt—but these timeless buys now come with subtle, on-trend twists. The denim is slouchy and wide-leg, the tailoring is relaxed and the silhouettes are just oversized enough to add that “cool” factor to what could otherwise be considered “boring” basics. 

This renewed brand identity (and honestly, the chicness of the new designs), has had so many influencers signing up to work with the brand—a smart way to show off how the modern woman can style the brand’s dressed-down buys for 2024 and beyond. Who What Wear UK social media editor Joy Ejaria is also a fan of how wearing Hush means not having to sacrifice style when dressing for real life. “Comfort for me always outweighs style, but I recently discovered a brand that merges the two, and now my wardrobe is full of expensive-looking items from Hush. I personally love how Mandy Watkins brings her laid-back Aussie aesthetic to a brand that still undoubtedly has that cool London energy.”

And it all comes within that more affordable high-street price bracket, which is what we call a win-win.

Despite reports of Jigsaw struggling to maintain its foothold in an extremely competitive mid-market industry pre-pandemic, the brand has defied all odds, and rather than fold under the pressures of the past few years, it has well and truly stepped up its game—both on the business end by smartly pulling away from stores and expanding online when it was necessary, and on the design side too. 

The collections are undeniably strong these days, full of really chic investment pieces from wool coats to forever tailoring that rival those from mid-luxury brands with much higher price points. The campaigns are elegant but with a modern ease and an aspirational polish that makes us want to dress entirely in Jigsaw, just to be one of those put-together women. And whilst other brands on this list are keen to stick to timeless neutrals in this moment of quiet luxury and new minimalism, Jigsaw uses these as a base but has the confidence to experiment with expensive-looking colour palettes and even prints—from rich burgundy to lime green and zebra.

This isn’t something we editors usually love to see on the high street as it can date (and cheapen) a collection instantly, but Jigsaw pulls it off with ease in a move reminiscent of what’s been happening on the most exciting designer runways of late—think Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega, Maximilian Davis’s Ferragamo and Sabato de Sarno’s new Gucci. High praise, indeed.

Whilst Massimo Dutti may belong to Zara’s Spanish-owned parent company, the difference between the two brands couldn’t be more palpable. Where Zara leans into the buzziest microtrends of the moment, aiming for TikTok-viral fame and flash-in-the-pan sellout success, Massimo Dutti leans away from them and instead towards a much more luxe, elevated approach. Even stepping into one of its stores on London’s Oxford Street feels like a wholly premium experience in comparison. We’d still advise you to be mindful of checking fabric constructions for any sneaky polyester mixes that (sadly) can still come with being a global high-street brand.

But on the whole, you’ll find a lot more transparency and respect for quality and fit when shopping at Massimo Dutti, which is something that has garnered the respect of fashion people and influencers like 
Monikh Dale and Emily Wells, who are often seen wearing the brand alongside luxury designers like The Row. 

Rebecca Rhys-Evans, our senior fashion and beauty editor for branded content, says the brand is her absolute go-to for elevated basics. “From its cashmere knits and tailored wool coats to the excellent selection of leather footwear and accessories, everything from the cuts to the colour palette is spot on. This season, I invested in a pair of knee-high black leather boots with a pointed toe and kitten heel, and whenever I wear them I lose count of how many comments I get.

“The thing is, where other high-street brands can look designer from a distance, I always feel that up close they fall short and don’t have the same longevity. However, when I wear Massimo Dutti, people will often mistake the garment for being Khaite, Toteme or The Row. What better compliment is there?!” 

Reformation was born out of Los Angeles back in 2009, and was originally a vintage shop that became a brand focused on creating its own designs with a much more sustainable approach than its peers at the time. 15 years later, and Reformation is still the benchmark for fashion brands looking to be both more environmentally responsible and commercially (very) successful. The first UK store opened in 2019 and as well as a strong online presence (thankfully, those pesky import taxes have been done away with), the brand now has five stores across London’s most popular shopping streets. 

It’s no secret that Reformation has a wealth of celebrity fans, especially stateside (Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez are both regularly spotted in the brand—we’re not talking Z-listers here), but its famously pretty dresses, vintage-inspired denim and impressively inclusive offering (it has long carried both extended sizing and petite collections) have won over the British fashion crowd too.

Reformation’s sustainable credentials (it doesn’t claim to be perfect, but it’s certainly much more committed and transparent than its premium high-street peers) genuinely set it apart. The brand is climate-neutral certified, with the goal of sourcing 100% of its fabrics from recycled, regenerative or renewable materials by 2025. The yearly sustainability report offers even more transparency, and it’s this approach, as well as the premium quality of its pieces, that justifies its higher price points. 

Reiss has always occupied a premium space on the British high street, and it continues to provide us all with beautifully designed clothing that will live through decades without losing its appeal. From occasion dresses to perfect camel coats and office-ready tailoring, it’s still rare to find this level of elegance whilst pounding the pavements of the high street (which is probably its key to success).

If that wasn’t enough to get us through the door (and checking out online), last September, Reiss launched Atelier—a premium collection doing pretty much what it says on the tin. These are limited-edition pieces crafted in the brand’s London-based, in-house atelier from seriously luxurious fabrics (predominantly sourced from Europe), using intricate techniques and impeccable attention to detail. Clearly, the demand for more bespoke luxury on the high street is alive and well. 

Whilst the Atelier collection feels even more timeless than the main line (you’d expect to be wearing these pieces forever at their elevated price points), there’s also a conscious modernity to it; enough to win over A-list celebrities like Selena Gomez who, despite having her pick of just about any label, chose to wear the crowning Atelier collection piece—a white maxi coat—on a recent outing. We’re already excited to see what the brand has in store for us next. 

Whistles has long been a wardrobe favourite amongst the Who What Wear UK team for a number of reasons. The ever-reliable quality and its refusal to play to trends that don’t have longevity are just two of them. For Rhys-Evans, “It’s a failsafe, whether that’s for bold, chunky knits in the winter or easy-wearing dresses with pretty prints in the summer, and I find it’s the ultimate destination for contemporary matching sets. I picked up a coordinating green, gingham skirt and top as well as a suede two-piece in the last year.”

Of course, we can’t talk about Whistles right now without mentioning the jacket. That’s the Clean Bonded Leather Jacket 
you’ve no doubt seen on your Instagram feeds, styled by influencers, editors and stylists alike, that has gone viral on the British fashion scene over the past year. In fact, at least four Who What Wear UK editors own the jacket themselves. This is all proof that Whistles, whilst it always has our premium wardrobe staples covered, also has the power to create a cult buy in the same realms of the buzziest designers.

Rhys-Evans is also a fan: “Coming in black and for this winter also in a chic chocolate brown, the jacket is such a winner because it’s a timeless staple that will last for years to come, but it also adds a cool factor to any outfit. Don’t get me wrong: Whistles will always be great for pieces like tailoring and workwear, but it’s at its best when leaning into premium fabrics like leather, suede and silk, especially with its Limited Edition range, which elevates the whole brand. It’s the thing that truly sets it apart from the rest of the high street, in my opinion.”

Next Up: The Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Trends That Really Matter


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