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One of London’s hottest emerging talents and the former designer behind Yeezy Gap has left for Paris to start a new chapter.
Mowalola Ogunlesi, known for her experimental designs, will present her first solo show for Spring/Summer 2023, marking her return to the catwalks after a three-year hiatus. Confirmed at Business in vogue that she is no longer working with Yeezy Gap, she is once again focusing on her own brand, Mowalola. To do this, it has secured a show sponsor in New Balance, signed a new showroom to manage its distribution on a global scale and relies on its community of collaborators from hairdresser Virginie Pinto Moreira (who also works with Fenty), Inge Grognard on beauty, casting director Mischa Notcutt of 11C (used by Balenciaga and JW Anderson) and stylist Lotta Volkova, who works with Miu Miu and Blumarine.
The 27-year-old designer, born in Lagos, is part of a new cohort of fashion designers who thrive not only on their creative talent, but also on their ability to generate great ideas and bring in collaborators, sometimes in outside of fashion, which extend their own brand halo. in the wider cultural world. It was one of her biggest learnings working with Kanye West, she says.
The off-plan show will take place at the Théâtre des Arts de la Scène de l’Élysée Montmartre on June 25, after streetwear brand Casablanca and before upcycling darling Marine Serre (both brands are on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar ). The collection, titled “Burglarwear”, is inspired by the idea of ”all kinds of thieves, from people who work on Wall Street to online scammers”, the designer explains during a call from a Paris-based studio. where she is working this week. . The SS23 collection will feature new fabrics and more experimental silhouettes, a departure from its current “wearable fun clothes,” says Ogunlesi. “RIP this time,” she wrote on Twitter this week, sparking interest from her community of more than 24,900 followers.
A big part of Mowalola’s success is her deliberate strategy of working outside of, or sometimes against, the fashion industry. Its extra-curricular show, which takes place on a smaller scale with no more than 300 participants, is a reminder of this. Ogunlesi was particularly attached to Paris – it’s a city she has fond memories of – but she “didn’t want to have to ask permission”. Brands that appear on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar must be approved by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Ogunlesi would prefer to enter through the side doors. The brand, which employs 14 people, is profitable but has a turnover of less than £1million, Ogunlesi said.