Twenty-five-year-old Nigerian-British designer Mowalola Ogunlesi has been named Design Director of Yeezy’s collaboration with Gap. In June, Yeezy, owned by the rapper Kanye West, announced a 10-year deal with the clothing retailer, where he worked as a teenager.
The deal, Vogue India reports, will see “Gap pay royalties and potential equity to Yeezy, giving West a workshop where he and his team can develop a co-branded line of ‘modern, elevated basics’ and deliver them to a global audience.”
The appointment of Ogunlesi, whose work is renowned for its queer and sex appeal, is being celebrated in black fashion circles as bringing a black female creative to the fore in an industry known for poaching their aesthetics while rarely acknowledging or rewarding them with formal positions of power.
In recent years, Ogunlesi has presented a Nigerian highlife-inspired photo series with photographer Ruth Ossai, produced a stylish short film starring Yves Tumor, partnered with Boiler Room on their first ready-to-wear collection, directed costuming for Skepta’s “Pure Water” video, and curated a psychedelic immersive art series Silent Madness.
We look forward to seeing her work with Yeezy Gap.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist, and curator. He is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture, art, photography, business, activism, and health. He has vast experience working in literature. He has sat on the judging panels of The Gerald Kraak Prize and of The Morland Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria's first queer art collective, and Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. For three years, Nov. 2016 to Apr. 2020, he led the transformation of the literary blog Brittle Paper into a continental powerhouse, ideating and administering The Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians." He completed a collection of short stories in 2016 and his novel in 2020. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.