“I don’t want to be everyone’s sweetheart, because I feel like I wouldn’t know myself. I’d just be a puppet.” That’s Mowalola Ogunlesi‘s life mantra, and she doesn’t want to be your role model, either.
Speaking to Hypebeast for our latest issue of Hypebeast Diaries, the divisive designer said, “I could never be the best role model to anyone; I’m really just living my life. I don’t want you to do what I am doing. I want you to see me do me, and to figure out what it is to do you.” With this in mind, we followed Mowalola around her studio in the build-up to her Fall/Winter 2023 runway show, “Dark Web,” which debuted as part of the most recent London Fashion Week showcase — off schedule, of course.
In the show, Mowalola brought New York to London — bootleg graphics celebrated the underbelly and creative ethos of the Big Apple, while local heroes in the UK, like Olaolu Slawn and his child, walked the runway. This came just moments after her New Balance 90/60 collaboration, and a range of Bratz dolls inspired by her and her aesthetic, dropped.
For Hypebeast Diaries, Mowalola explains what the dolls meant to her as a child, and how they went on to partly shape the talent she has become. The designer has always gone with her gut, discarding negative comments from her tutors and taking every opportunity (such as working for YEEZY) under her stride.
To find out more, watch Hypebeast Diaries: Mowalola, above.