Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi jolted the fashion community this year when it was announced that Kanye West named her design director for his Yeezy Gap partnership. Prior to the selection, Mowalola was already making waves with her designs on social media and her first show during London Fashion Week in 2019. More projects soon came after her debut and she worked with Nike for the Nigerian Football team’s kits and alongside Skepta for his “Pure Water” music video.
2020 was undoubtedly a big turning point for the 25-year-old creative as other fashion companies started to take notice of her rising influence. For one, UK retailer Browns chose Ogunlesi as one of the designers for its Homecoming initiative. This year’s project, which also involved the likes of Places+Faces, Casablanca and more, focused on Nigerian brands as a celebration of the Homecoming community. Gucci also took notice as creative director Alessandro Michele included Mowalola for his GucciFest show — the digital event not only showed the luxury label’s new collection but also gave rising artists like Moalola a platform to be seen through various film projects. Furthermore, Yeezy Gap is already starting to take shape and Kanye West was been more than generous offering some early looks of the project. He’s given previews of footwear and clothing designs created by Mowalola.