After the recent announcement of the collaboration between Kanye West and Gap Inc a giant U.S clothing retail shop which is reportedly a 10years contract, Mowalola Ogunlesi announced her appointment as the Design Director for Kanye West’s Yeezy Gap Initiative on her Instagram page.
West is a longtime fan of the British-Nigerian designer—in 2018 it was rumored that she would be working with him in some capacity, and he and his family wore her designs for a Father’s Day photo—but the move and overall deal still feels surprising. So who is Mowalola Ogunlesi?
5 Facts about Mowalola Ogunlesi Early Life
- Ogunlesi was born to two Nigerian fashion designers, her mother specializing in children’s clothing and her father working in traditional Nigerian menswear.
- Ogunlesi moved from Nigeria to attend but attended an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Surrey, England at the age of 12.
- She earned her Bachelor of Artsin Fashion at Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London, debuting a collection at the Graduation Press Show in 2017.
- She went to Central Saint Martins for her BA and studied fashion textiles
- She dropped out after a year telling SSENSE the college was “just a bit too dated
Mowalola Ogunlesi Career Highlights
- After she dropped out of Central Saint Martins, Mowalola Ogunlesi applied for Fashion East, a nonprofit organization founded by Old Truman Brewery and Lulu Kennedy in 2000 that supports young designers and gives them a platform to show at London Fashion Week
- With the help of Fashion East, she made her London Fashion Week debut in 2019 & showed womenswear for the first time
- By this time celebrities including Solange and Skepta, who sat front row at this show, had worn her pieces, which she describes as unisex and influenced by her country.
- Ogunlesi came under scrutiny in September 2019 when Naomi Campbell was spotted wearing a Mowalola gown with a bullet wound design. To clear up its interpretation, Ogunlesi posted its meaning on Instagram shortly after Campbell wore it stating: “I make clothes to challenge people’s minds. This gown is from my collection ‘Coming For Blood’—a delving into the horrific feeling of falling in love. This dress is extremely emotional to me—it screams my lived experience as a black person.” She continued: “It shows no matter how well dressed you are or well behaved, we are time after time, seen as a walking target. I’m in a privileged position to be able to speak on issues that others would be silenced on. Inequality is still rife and newspapers clawing at my work is testament to that.”
- Since then, Mowalola, her eponymous brand, has been worn byDrake, Solange Knowles in her Dazed cover shoot and was featured in Skepta’s hazy “Pure Water” video.
- Ogunlesi was also involved with the launch of Nike’s Nigerian eye-catching jersey and has also received high praise from famous people likeKanye West.
- In honour of Barbie’s 60th anniversary and to commemorate its global impact, Vogue commissioned Ogunlesi and five other young designers to dress the iconic doll in their signature style.
- Ogunlesi ended the year displaying her capabilities as a designer and artist with “Silent Madness,” an exhibit that opened at the NOW Gallery in Londonlast December. She created a stage featuring a rock band of mannequins wearing Mowalola bodysuits that was surrounded by her printed fabrics draped throughout the space, a photograph by Lea Colombo, and a trippy video she produced with Yves Tumour, Jordan Hemingway, and Dazed’s art director Jamie Reid.
Our rising star spotlight is on the fashion designer spotlight as we are looking forward to all the magic she is about to create.
Source – Wikipedia, Complex