Who to watch in 2021
From changemakers to plus-size models, designers to musicians, here are the up-and-comers to keep an eye on in 2021.
15 Percent Pledge Founder
If you haven’t heard the name by now, Aurora James is the founder of 15 Percent Pledge, a call-to-action petition for retailers to dedicate 15 per cent of their shelf space to black-owned businesses. Vying to instil lasting change for black people globally, the movement has attracted support from fashion and beauty brands including Bloomingdales, Macys and Sephora in less than six months. Impressive stuff!
So far Ibrahim Karama’s designs have challenged the conventional ideals of masculinity and menswear. Born in Sierra Leone and raised in Gambia, Ibrahim moved to London in his early teens and attended Central Saint Martin’s. Inspired by African styles and an advocate for gender fluidity, his distinctive approach to menswear has quickly made him one of the most in-demand young stylists of our generation and definitely one to watch.
Plus size model
Two years ago The New Pandemics modelling agency was set up to increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ models within the fashion industry. Just last year seven new faces were signed to the agency including plus-size model Mycky Brown from Connecticut. She has since featured in top magazines including Vogue, Dazed and Paper. New Pandemics models have already walked in shows for a host of big fashion names including Balenciaga and Savage X Fenty. No doubt Mycky will be slaying the runway soon and we cannot wait.
Black in Fashion Council
With the aim to eradicate racial inequality within the fashion industry, Teen Vogue editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner partnered with PR specialist Sandrine Charles to form the Black In Fashion Council. “The goal is to represent and secure the advancement of black individuals in the fashion and beauty industries,” they say. Since launching, the Black In Fashion Council has unveiled an executive and advisory board that includes stylists, models, freelance creatives and other stakeholders. Interested in becoming a member? Head to blackinfashioncouncil.com/joinus.
Fashion Designer & Choreographer
Black British choreographer Saul Nash made his debut as a designer at last year’s London Fashion Week, presenting both his SS20 and AW20 collections at Fashion East. Saul studied Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins, which is where he honed his talent as a designer and experimented with merging performance with menswear. Far from your average fashion show, Saul’s signature sportswear styles were worn by models who moved their way down the runway and expressed emotions through dance to bring his pieces to life.
Collective hair agency
Founded by Lauraine Bailey, one of the UK’s leading session hairstylists, Evolved Artists is a boutique collective representing London-based talent with superlative hair skills. Its roster is impressive and includes notable names such as Tracey Cahoon – the coif master to Amy Winehouse’s iconic beehive updo - and Darren Scott, who has worked with Katy Perry and Mariah Carey. Lauraine says: “This is more than just agency; it’s a creative safe space where fellow creatives can share information, jobs and even advice on the industry. It started out as a WhatsApp group and has evolved into a collective.”
If you’re an avid TikTok user, chances are that you’re already familiar with Cookie Kawaii’s catchy hit song, Vibe (If I Back it Up). With more 100 million streams on the social media app, the Chicago-born star became a household name in a short space of time – but she’s far more than a viral hit wonder. Making music and perfecting her sound for the last 10 years, Cookie’s latest mixtape, Club Soda Vol 2, is an eclectic mix of energetic club tunes and slick slow jams with plenty of sass. We expect to hear a lot more from hitmaker throughout 2021.