Forbes has just released its FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list and it is so exciting. The list comprises of men and women who are “forging ahead with credible, creative and profound strategies to shape our tomorrow” as a continent. The list features revolutionary thinkers who enliven industries with fresh business models and innovative leadership.
From the 3,000 nominations made, 100 were shortlisted through a series of robust reporting and vigorous vetting and then 30 people who are changing the face of society and business were finally selected.
Of the 30 selected, 3 are from the fashion industry! These are pace setters and ground breakers, people we should look out for, in the industry.
Here they are:
1. Swanky Jerry:
Jeremiah Ogbodo Ike, a Nigerian fashion designer, is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Swanky Signatures. It is a brand that features a subtle blend of couture and African Ankara fabric.
He is known to be a creative director, celebrity stylist, wardrobe stylist, designer, social influencer and consultant amongst others.
Celebrities such as Davido, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Flavour, Ini Edo and Sakordie have been styled by him. He is also known to have styled African presidents and first ladies.
He first fell in love with fashion as a child when he and his family traveled a lot from city to city. To blend in, they had to dress like the locals and he loved every bit of it.
He became inspired by his surroundings and started investing in Nigerian fashion magazines and watching big events just to see the elaborate fashion being paraded.
The death of his father was a life changing experience as it pushed him to become a social butterfly just so he could cope with it. It wasn’t long before he was known as “that stylish guy”.
I found happiness and peace in creating and was virtually driven to turn my passion into a career in order to make money and fend for myself. – Jeremiah Ogbodo.
He launched his fashion and lifestyle brand, Swanky Signatures Styling, in 2012 and it has made waves since then, becoming one of the most popular and influential brands in the industry.
He is passionate about giving back and lending his hand to different charities and drawing attention to movements such as ‘Break the Silence’ and #WalkForLove.
He has won many awards and been featured on CNN.
2. Anwar Bougroug:
Anwar Bougroug is the Moroccan Founder and Cretive Director at Bougroug. Bougroug is a gender less fashion label that was founded in 2017. They specialize in making items of clothing and bags of all kinds.
As gender fluidity becomes more normalized, Bougroug is one of the few promoting this trend in his home country which is known to be conservative.
Bougroug started out as a personal project to tackle toxic masculinity and empower women in Morocco but then became a visible creative fashion house.
Every item created by them is uniquely handcrafted down to the very last thread by Moroccan artisans.
Bougroug makes use of long-standing Moroccan crafting techniques to make its products one of a kind.
Because of its Moroccan and European heritage, Bougroug has been able to work with different companies such as H&M and Bershka to design and develop collections for women, men, children and babies.
Its head office is in Stockholm, Sweden and its production office is in Marrakech. Last year, Bougroug wrote about sexuality, gender-based violence, politics, fashion and society in Morocco.
3. Hadeel Osman:
Though not a fashion designer, Hadeel Osman who is from Sudan has had 7 years of experience in the fashion industry. She is the Creative Director, Stylist and Founder of DAVU Studio.
Her creativity stems from her years in living in the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. Moving back to Sudan proved to be a challenging fit because of its “strict regime, limited resources and never-ending economic crisis” but she did it anyway.
She has worked on several projects with clients in Dubai, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sudan to enhance their branding strategies.
Osman styles people for films and video clips.
She believes with the recent revolution, the future looks bright as she hopes to create a Sudan chapter of the Fashion Revolution organization, designing a suitable gender-neutral, capsule fashion collection inspired by traditional Sudanese design aesthetics.
These people have blazed a trail for others to follow and created a world renowned brand for themselves. Other Afrocan designers can take a cue from them to make Africa great.