Mowalola: "I would like to know how Rihanna has been able to create this empire"

The Fashion East alumna gets quizzed by Rihanna.

by i-D Staff
20 January 2020, 6:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Mowalola and I’m a designer.

What has been your biggest success so far?
My biggest success so far, in my small life of 25 years, has been doing everything I wanted to do, following my gut, and being happy with the way things turned out. I feel like whenever I’ve thought about my future and what I wanted to do, I’ve thought: am I happy and will this make me happy? I didn’t really plan to get where I am, I just took the journey at my own pace. When I was a kid, I wanted to do a lot of different things! I wanted to be a model once. I wanted to be a plastic surgeon. Then I wanted to be a cosmetologist, because that’s what my dad does in Nigeria. And then the career I chose ended up letting me do pretty much anything I wanted. If I wanted to make a film, I could make a film. If I wanted to design a car, I could design a car. I don’t really see any limits.

What do you consider to be your biggest failure?
I think the only failures I see in my life are people I’ve let in who didn’t need to be part of it. But everything happens for a reason, and I needed to go through certain painful things to know what I wanted, and what I desired from the future.

What would be your question for Rihanna?
I feel like it wouldn’t be just one question – it would need to be a whole conversation. I think I’d just start with “Hello, how are you?” and we’d go from there. I would like to know how, as a woman, she’s been able to create this empire, and a fanbase of people who really love her, who are really authentic people. I think I appreciate that kind of love more than God-worshipping shit. People who love themselves as well as loving you.

Mowalola wears all clothing Mowalola.


Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Alastair McKimm

Hair Duffy at Streeters.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters using ADDICTION Beauty.
Nail technician Jenny Longworth at CLM using CHANEL Les Vernis and CHANEL La Crème Main.
Set design Emma Roach at Streeters.
Colourist Lena Ott for Suite Caroline.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima and Simon McGuigan.
Digital technician Chad Meyer.
Styling assistance Madison Matusich and Giulia Bandioli.
Tailor Hannah Wood.
Hair assistance Lukas Tralmer, Amidat Giwa and Shaun McIntosh.
Make-up assistance Hiromi Ilsuka and Kimie Yashiro.
Nail technician assistance Nichole Williams.
Set design assistance Nia Samuel-Johnson, Louis Simonon and Eddie Amos.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production Suzy Patten at Holmes Production.
Production supervisor Molly Zinar at Holmes Production.
Production coordinator Alex Whiting at Holmes Production.
Production runner David Herm.
Production intern Marta Pera.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.

Mario Sorrenti