International Women’s Day: Six Creatives We’re Championing
08 MARCH 2022
08 MARCH 2022
If you scroll through Celeste Mountjoys’s Instagram feed (@filthyratbag), you’ll find a cigarette-smoking, Feline-esque creature and a duck on the telephone. At only 22 years old, Mounjoy’s witty, creative and sometimes unnerving illustrations have managed to amass over 400k Instagram following, with no sign of slowing down. Her quirky drawings of humanoid beings and other creatures, accompanied with funny and often cynical copy, encapsulate the trials and tribulations of topics like sexism, body image and mental health. Starting her Instagram at 15 years old, Mountjoy’s followers have watched her coming of age through the evolution of her increasingly candid artwork and commentary. If you’re easily offended, look away, if you love a tongue-in-cheek laugh at our society, she may be right up your alley.
Shop Celeste Mountjoy’s merch and prints on her FilthyRatBag ecommerce store.
In July 2021, visual artist Yam Karkai launched her 10,000 avatar World of Women (WoW) NFTs. Karkai told NFTEvening “At the time, the collectible projects that were booming were clearly directed for the male public, and there was nothing there for women to feel related to.” Like cryptocurrency, the NFT space is predominantly white and male-dominated, in both its investors and creators. In a 2021 study, women accounted for only 16% of the NFT market. Each WoW series is culturally sensitive, with Karkai avoiding use of any religious or political symbols. While the NFTs are diverse, Karkai also ensured that conflicting features wouldn’t appear, for example, a blue-eyed white woman with an afro. In the first two weeks of 2022, the WoW project generated over $40 million and has been bought by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria.
Grace Wales Bonner might be considered primarily a menswear designer, but that doesn’t stop women from purchasing and championing her designs. Wales Bonner’s gender-versatile fits provide a comment on Black identity, as well as craftsmanship and style. Wales Bonner walks a line in which she addresses multinationalism and sexuality through the lens of her own experience and self-education. With no sign of slowing her incline, the former LVMH young designer of the year winner continues to make waves in the industry, through her own brand, Wales Bonner and her ongoing collaborations with Adidas. Wales Bonner isn’t watching what her peers are doing, she’s carving out a new perspective, making her one of the most prolific young fashion designers of the decade. Wales Bonner told Elle magazine “[My goal is to] bring an Afro-Atlantic spirit to European ideas of luxury” and citing filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles and painter Kerry James Marshall as her inspirations in their exploration of Black identity.
Winning the 2022 Brit Award for Best New Artist and the BET Hip Hop Award for Best International Flow the year prior, Little Simz is making waves in the music industry. Simz is a woman of many talents, musically endorsed by the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy. Her latest record, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is rich and genre-defying. It is an ode to womanhood, tracks inspired by traditional Nigerian music and relatable introspective lyrics. Little Simz is also an actor and plays the role of Shelley in Netflix’s Top Boy, a series assisted by Drake and will be reprising her role in Season 4, releasing in late March. Upon accepting her Brit Award for Breakthrough Artist at this year’s February Ceremony, Simz praised the foster mother who raised her on a North London estate. “Look at what you’ve done, Mum. I am living proof that if you work hard at something, no matter where you come from, no matter your background, no matter your race, you can do something extraordinary.” Simz’s empathy is reflected in her writing and her sound and contributes to her status as one of the biggest breakout artists of recent years.
“Who’s voices are heard, who’s are silenced?” New York born, Berlin based film maker and artist returns to this question to frame her practice. With a focus on telling stories of marginalisation and history, over the past decade, Tsang interrogates what she calls the ‘in-betweenness’, a space where ideas and people can’t be categorised in binary terms. Her feature film Wildness, candidly explores trans and queer culture, unfolding within Silver Plater, a pivotal community soace for the Latinx immigrant and queer community.
Olamide Olowe is a force to be reckoned with. At age 23, she became the youngest Black woman to raise over $2 million in funding for her science backed skincare business. Olowe launched company Topicals with co-founder Claudia Tenges, after realising there were no brands on the market that resonated with them and their skin conditions. She recalls dermatologists not knowing how to treat her darker skin, and wanting to find a solution. Olowe speaks openly about the need for better diversity in product formulation and dermatology clinical trials. 75% of participants identify as white and as a result there’s a widespread lack of testing of products on people of colour.. Topicals has since been picked up by Nordstrom and Sephora – we can’t wait to see what’s next for the Fenty of Skincare.