Meet the young talents at the front of fashion's New Wave
10 of the BFC's New Wave: Creative cohort share how creativity has kept them going through 2020 and their advice for anyone gunning for a spot on next year's list.
Courtesy of the British Fashion Council. Photography Joyce NG
In fashion, as everywhere else, the end of the year calls for celebration. This year especially, we’ve all earned ourselves a pat on the back and a champagne shower. Still, there are a handful whose achievements against the backdrop of this garbage fire year deserve a special mentioning. Tomorrow night, the industry will come together (virtually, anyway) for the British Fashion Awards, where they’ll applaud the designers who have persevered and excelled in this most surreal of times. But beyond them, there’s also a fresh generation of fashion creatives -- photographers and stylists, directors and podcasters, hair and makeup artists, and so many more -- to whom we should all be raising a glass, too.
Right on cue, the British Fashion Council released its sophomore New Wave: Creatives list earlier this week. Nominated by last year’s nominees and a panel that includes i-D’s very own Carlos Nazario, it’s a celebration of fashion’s brightest young things around the world, comprising 50 of the names lighting the way forward for a better industry for tomorrow. Here, we catch up with ten of this year’s cohort, asking them to share what gives them pride in their practice, how they’ve kept positive throughout the year, and their tips for anyone hoping to be part of the next New Wave.
What do you do? Hi! I’m a video director, artist and model. My video work is very digital; mixing 3D and real-life and vice versa. What excites you most in your work? The room I’ve left for experimentation. I don’t like to settle on one thing, I love trying new things and exploring different ways I can work with 3D and video. What do you think sets your work apart? I think my sense of humour and ability to not take things too seriously. I think a lot of people in the fashion industry don’t let themselves just laugh. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? Well, it's been a long road but I’ve somewhat found solace in myself and realised that no one else is as there for you as you are. Basically, be your inner peace. What’s on the horizon for 2021? Well, my only plan as of yet for 2021 is a change of scenery -- to move somewhere new and have way more fun. I’ve realised this year that I have no balance between work and life, as my work is my life. My goal for 2021 is to be able to work and make a lot more time to live and enjoy. What’s your advice for next year’s New Wave? Have fun, life is too short to just sit around and wait for things to happen. Make things happen for yourself -- have fun while doing it.
What do you do? I’m a fashion and documentary photographer & filmmaker. Though, I do see myself as more of an artist, as I like to intersect other disciplines and mediums in my work. What excites you most about your work? My experimental nature excites me. I often get new, unconventional ideas of how to present my work. I try not to care about what the audience would like, and to simply do what I feel. I’m young! What do you think sets your work apart? I think my background, heritage and age definitely have a heavy influence on my work. I am one of the very few persons in the industry who actually grew up in Jamaica their entire life, and that surely gives me a unique voice. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? It’s been an absolute disaster, but has also birthed very positive results and changes. The necessary discussions we are all having gives me such hope. Personally, I just try to continue working on my goals -- I have ticked many of those off this year, so that keeps me feeling optimistic! What’s on the horizon for 2021? I want to start doing some quite serious things in 2021. I do have an exhibition coming out next year with Alice Black Gallery. I’d like to start doing more moving image, making books, really pushing the boundaries with photography, and I would like to work on some charity/community projects back home in Jamaica, once I obtain the funding. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Please make use of the resources you have gained from this massive achievement. Also do remember the road doesn’t end here -- keep going!
What do you do? I’m a celebrity hairstylist who works in fashion and music. What excites you most in your work? Challenging my creativity, I love an ambitious mood board. It's super fun to push looks that haven’t been done before. What do you think sets your work apart? I think that my work is avant-garde and large. What do you take the most pride in? High shine and clean partings haha! 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? Trust in my process and the support of my creative family. What’s on the horizon for 2021? Opening a concept salon, more amazing projects and future success, I believe. What’s your advice for next year’s New Wave? Trust your process and be your authentic self, showcase your greatness and be kind.
What do you do? I’m an artist, mostly using photography to present my ideas. Selfies and temporary tattoos are its more well-known elements. I began with social media, collaborating with fashion brands, and now I’m trying to do more installations and works that take longer to plan and execute. What excites you most about your work? Accidents. The accidental outcomes that happen in my work, or during the process. I’m always pretty well-planned, and I always have a blueprint in my mind. The outcome is pretty much 90% the same as what I first imagine. But every time I get an unexpected result, I feel excited and satisfied. I like when my work 100% presents myself, pure and straightforward -- sometimes with little inside jokes in it. It makes me feel like I’m making a cute prank on people. It’s my little secret healing process. What do you take the most pride in? I’m a fashion design graduate, so finding a way to stay connected with what I love, fashion, but being able to use my own language, art, is what I really feel most grateful for. Finding that balance isn’t easy, but it keeps me going forward. I’m also proud of being a local girl who grew up in Taiwan, moved to New York and achieved something I couldn’t imagine back then. I believe there are a lot of other New Wavers who also started from no background, with no privilege. It’s really encouraging. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? I’ve been in Taipei, having left New York due to the pandemic. When it comes to making things, I can do more in Taipei. The costs are lower compared to New York, and there are bigger spaces I can use, so I’ve been able to make bigger physical installations here, and learn about different materials while making them. Learning and experimenting has kept me positive. I don’t feel physically trapped, instead I feel challenged and curious. What’s on the horizon for 2021? At the beginning of 2021, I’m very lucky to have my first solo exhibition on January 2. It’s a bright way for me to start 2021 and say goodbye to 2020. I think 2020, in a way, has made me think positively. We all got a chance to slow down and rethink what we really need, what really mentally satisfies us, and learn to be grateful. I’m pretty optimistic about 2021. I think people will treat things with a more grateful heart, and value what is really important. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Do things that satisfy you, not things that please others. Being genuine lasts longer and is healthier.
What do you do? I work as a stylist. What excites you most in your work? I get to collaborate with people I admire and create imagery that hopefully has an impact on considerations of beauty and identity. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? My chosen family, friends & community What’s on the horizon for 2021? Hopefully not wearing a mask all the time. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Always listen to your instincts; no-one can be the best writer for your story but you.
What do you do? I do art direction with a lot of “s”. Some days I work on graphics, some days I design shops or installations. Sometimes, I concentrate on making books, writing and directing videos, or creating objects. Or just being a workaholic. Nevertheless, I think I’m a comedian, who tells a story through images, spaces and objects in a lighthearted way. What excites you most about your work? I LOVE working…I get excited in every part of it. Like when I pop up with a good idea or the right story to tell, my heart rate speeds up… it’s like love at first sight. The challenging part is to develop those relationships in the best possible way. And in the end, I’m telling a story to make people laugh, build on or just swear ‘wtf!’. What do you think sets your work apart? It’s eccentric and sincere. Even if it looks silly and nonsensical, there’s a lot of thoughts, hard work and honest messages behind it. I think my work acts like it’s stupid but I’m still that smart bitch. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? Organic food. Yoga. Talking with family and friends and getting THIS amazing and honoured recognition! What’s on the horizon for 2021? Warm hugs, kisses, being together, welfare, Green, liberation, CHANGES! And being able to finally say ‘thank you, next’ to coronavirus. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Follow your heart and trust your gut.
What do you do? I’m a photographer. What excites you most in your work? I try to take the best portrait of the person I'm shooting! If I take your photo I want it to be your favourite photo of yourself. What do you think sets your work apart? What do you take the most pride in? I take pride in always trying new techniques and getting really experimental with my process of making images. I like to keep pushing my limits. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? My younger siblings! What’s on the horizon for 2021? I want it all! DUH! Lots of fun stuff! More photos of course! What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Two things! Never stop being you! Never bite your tongue! Say that shit!
What do you do? I exist in lots of different spaces. I dance, I model, I advocate for Black trans lives with the hopes of seeing late capitalism fall. I do some acting and voiceover work, too. Tranifesting for a better future… What excites you most in your work? The space to dream, create and put intention into what I do -- my ongoing collaboration with Keiken allows me the freedom to really have some of my wildest dreams become a reality. Having spaces to bring together many facets of myself always feels exciting to me. What do you take the most pride in? Being as unapologetic and honest as I can be to show that we are all multifaceted beings.In hopefully showing others that they can too can be anyone they want, that we are all imperfect and societal conformity never serves anyone for their highest good. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? Tangible change. Old systems are crumbling, Having more time to be with myself and my community. People are waking up to reality, there is so much more to life than whatever we were doing before… It feels like everyone has become more intentional and that’s a good feeling. What’s on the horizon for 2021? New beginnings, nothing personally I want to speak on yet because I think surprises are fun. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Potentially cliché… just do you. You never know who’s taking note so do you the most, be unapologetic and put your whole self heart into your creations.
What do you do? I am a journalist, model and I host a podcast called O.T.T. What excites you most in your work? Getting to interview the artists I love and admire. From Shamir to Pat Cleveland, I feel so fortunate to speak to such awe-inspiring people who have such incredible outlooks on life. It’s been amazing to hear all of the gems that people drop on O.T.T. With articles, so much gold often gets left out due to the word count, but there have been some incredible moments that I have been fortunate enough to hear guests share on the podcast. What do you take the most pride in? I think I’m most proud of the environment I've created on O.T.T where everyone feels comfortable to speak about the issues that need to be spoken about! Where they can feel free, speak their truth unafraid, and also have fun. I’m always humbled when people tell me that an episode inspired them because this world is DARK, so it feels good to know I can bring a little light and occasional shade to people’s days! 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? My friends have 100000% kept me positive and have been such an incredible support system and I’m so grateful for them! I graduated this year and watching the Class of 2020 show up and show out, despite all of the obstacles this year has thrown our way has been so inspiring. Also, witnessing the ‘reckoning’, so to speak, that is happening in fashion right now. Talk of change has always gone on behind the scenes but to watch action start to take place gives me hope, especially for the next generation of people coming into this industry. What’s on the horizon for 2021? O.T.T will be bigger and brighter than ever! I have a long dream guest list and I will be manifesting their pull up to Season 2 of O.T.T What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? 2020 has taught me that time is so fleeting, so it is so important to take action on your goals and dreams today. If you want to do something, do it! Take the time in 2021 to really advocate for yourself and your work like never before. And protect your peace!!!
What do you do? I’m a director and producer. What excites you most in your work? Witnessing a project start as a few text messages or a phone conversation, then materialise into something real -- there’s nothing quite like it. What do you think sets your work apart? In the last year, I’ve been lucky enough to work on projects with (in my opinion!) some of London’s most talented artists. Many of them are friends of mine and there’s a sense of camaraderie between us -- the energy felt before, during, and after a shoot then translates in the work. With every one of these projects, there has been so much thought poured into every detail -- I don't think it can be easily replicated. What do you take the most pride in? I’ve been told that I bring in an air of comfortability on set and in my collaborations, which is always lovely to hear. I’m not very rigid when it comes to my ideas, I’m all ears when it comes to people challenging my approach and opinions -- I recognise I’m still quite early in my career, and with every project, I learn something new. 2020’s been turbulent, but what’s kept you positive? The support from my friends and family has definitely kept me positive this year. I went through quite a tough time before quitting my 9-5 job -- I was really anxious at the thought of taking the leap into the freelance pool. I knew it was something I had to do; the projects I was passionate about were sitting on the back burner. My friends and family have really helped me navigate through that transitional period and I couldn’t thank them enough. What’s on the horizon for 2021? I finished my first short film screenplay at the start of this year. It was supposed to go into production this month, but of course -- COVID happened. I’m really excited to get that project back on the road in the new year. What’s your one piece of advice for next year’s New Wave? Ignore your anxieties, they’re usually baseless.
Photography Joyce NG
- british fashion council