Since launching back in mid-2020, YUGEN is on a mission to show and empower the emerging and most unique creative talent of our time. We are creating a league of our own and giving way to the new generation of creatives with bold and brilliant visions of the future.
This year we are returning back with another YUGEN10 feature - this time focusing on some of our favourite London stylists and art directors to watch for in 2022. We spoke with Matt King, Valeria Chrampani, and eight more of the hottest fashion artists today to learn about their style, latest projects, and inspirations.
Matt King is a London-based stylist and creative director. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2009 he has pursued his career across fashion, film, music, and performance. King's connection to the underground culture has led to a unique creation of mixed subcultured aesthetics within the fashion industry.
One of King’s latest and memorable projects featured a collaboration with drag artist Bimini. Taking inspiration from horror hostess 'Vampira' and his all-time favourite fashion designer, Thierry Mugler, he merges the two worlds to create contemporary imagery. The full look will be released later this year for a special music project directed by Yann Gonzalez.
Styling is more than just about mixing clothes for King. It is about creating a “mood or a vision and creatively directing each element to inform the look”. King juxtaposes his style through incorporating clean/minimal look against a punk attitude.
King sees his work as an extension of himself continually portraying his authentic self. His favourite project would be SORT, a personal project co-founded by him and his partner, Joseph Delaney, as a multidisciplinary studio focused on independent films with an annual print publication at its core. SORT is born out of London's queer club community and celebrates underground culture through collaborations with like-minded artists, brands, musicians, and publications. While they took a break on SORT since covid, they will now be working on issue 5 of SORT zine this year along with independent film ideas to launch.
Creative director, stylist, and instantaneous art maker based in London of Athenian origins, Marianthi Hatzikidi is a restless soul looking for all things adventurous. A lover of free movement, spiritual and earthly creatures, the sea, and the cosmic forces in each one.
Women and their bodily expressions have always been the root of Hatzikidi’s inspirations. Being fascinated by womanhood, she draws a connection of empowerment and vast limitless expressions in her artistic process.
Taking ideas from her past and current experiences, people, club scenes, nudist beaches, and subcultures as well as art and cultural references, her work can best be described as a form of a personal journey.
Hatzikidi mentions that her “background in fine art and history reflects its personality in her work more than anything else”. Moreover, her deep connection with deities, ancient goddesses, as well as exploration of her birthplace, Greece is always present in her approach to fashion. Hatzikidi loves to “expose the female and male body and depict the emotional realm of the person she is styling”.
Working with artists such as Emma Portner and Frank Ocean has fostered an amazing collaborative space and a chance for her to discover new artistic worlds. Amongst many of her projects, Hatzikidi mentions her work for an i-D UK issue on the new Athenian creative scene was a very special connection to her roots.
At the moment she is working on creating her independent publication with a focus on femininity; its dynamism and lavishness and its connection to naturist elements and expressions.
Valeria Chrampani is a London and Athens-based stylist, art director, and owner of online shop 00sgarms. Her vibrant and eccentric energy integrated with youthful Y2K aesthetic has caught the eyes of many in the creative industries and beyond. From Rico Nasty to Greentea Peng, Chrampani has worked with numerous creatives. Moreover, platforms such as Vogue, Dazed, Dazed Beauty, and i-D have featured her styling work.
Athens, Chrampani’s hometown has been the latest inspiration. Growing up seeing revolutionary artists with an inspirational “voice” in the Greek industry going unrecognized, Chrampani has always strived to be “creative and authentic” in her work.
The internet has played a beneficial and crucial tool to showcase and promote Chrampani’s practice to a wider audience during this time. Despite having limited opportunities, the world of social media has provided her with the push to think more creatively, innovatively, and surpass boundaries. The imprint of this collective experience has influenced the Greek creative industry to be more open-minded, giving the young creatives a chance to work on bigger-scale projects with a new contemporary approach.
Chrampani starts her creative journey by conceptualizing her inspirations. She then goes on to construct a vision that is unique to herself. Paying attention to small details, Chrampani is very meticulous in how she communicates her messages to the viewers. Her work centers around personal values, and experiences together in combination with her kitsch and extravagant side.
Amongst many projects she has participated in, she mentions that the “High Street Girls” project from 2-3 years ago, inspired by Nollywood has been her all-time favourite. Being a big fan of Nollywood, Chrampani took inspiration from various movie scenes.
Chrampani is currently back in her hometown and working to advocate for creatives struggling in the industry. Moreover, she is working as much as she can with these small creatives from her city to showcase their scene to a wider group of audiences.
Brian Conway is a fashion stylist based in London, with more than 7 years of experience styling menswear and womenswear for a wide range of editorial, commercial, still life, and talent clients. He establishes his unique sense of mode through creating abstract shapes and silhouette play. Conway has been featured in many publications such as Numero, the Sunday Times Style, Financial Times, Muse Magazine, PUSS PUSS, Harper's Bazaar, and L'Officiel. Moreover, his previous line of work in the editorial team at British Vogue, LOVE Magazine, and Perfect Magazine has shown his success in the fashion industry.
In his latest project, 'CAMP' 'OVER THE TOP' 'DRAMA', Conway created an avant-garde atmosphere influenced by icons such as Cher who wore over-the-top Bob Mackie creations to the MET gala. As an integral part of his work is “supporting and nurturing new-generation designers”, he incorporated garments from upcoming creators along with the major international brands. There is a good mix in this story from Central Saint Martins Ming Lim, Haseeb Hasaan, then, Harris Reed and Richard Malone to Alaia, Noir, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Chanel. This mix of variety within the brands he incorporates highlights, Conway’s sense of self in his artwork.
“Silhouette play and drama” has always been a core inspiration in Conway’s work. He loves for his “muses to assume art form and fashion for me is escapism”. In his new reality, Conway can push boundaries past commerciality. Conway styled and creatively directed a story for PUSS PUSS inspired by German choreographer Pina Bausch which held a special place in his heart and thus one of his favourite projects thus far. The focus was on crafting clean and beautiful slick effortless movements inspired by Bausch.
Conway is currently working on new SS22 season images which have yet to be released. He is also working on a styling campaign for an exciting London-based new upcoming brand. His new projects are all to be revealed in the coming weeks…
From being an editor at Port Magazine and being featured on 1 Granary and The Face, Julie Velut is a French creative establishing new grounds of authenticity in the fashion industry. Her style captures raw, edgy, and youthful allure perfect for the London fashion scene.
For her latest project, Velut worked with Novembre to style and shoot 14 looks all composed of pieces from her own wardrobe. Sticking to one theme throughout the project, she focused on I ‘Denim Dénudé’ which loosely translates to ‘Denim Nudity’ in English. Once her theme was set Velut built looks to achieve a sense of sensuality and nudity. As Velut focuses on sustainability in her work and her style, “having all the freedom from the magazine to get creative and come up with looks from secondhand items” felt sincere and best represented her experimental journey. The styled garments were shot by Velut in her bedroom mirror along with still life shots from her hiking trip. The series is now live in Novembre.global.
In defining her body of work, Velut describes her style in three words: authentic, vulnerable, and audacious. In trying to make her work most authentic to herself, she continuously tries to “bring in her soul within each project” she onboard. Moreover, she sees the beauty in moments where “people aren’t afraid of being/showing the world who they truly are”, thus she tries to emphasize the vulnerability in each subject and bring forward a sense of individuality. In deriving individuality and a sense of identity she reminds herself of “daring greatly” and leaning in and never being afraid to take creative ‘risks’. In her eyes, playing it safe has never been an option.
Velut is currently working on an upcoming project in conjunction with a photographer in Paris. It is a continuation of the ‘NOVA’ swimwear project where she creates looks using garments sourced & purchased in charity shops. She plans to have an exhibition of the photographs at a gallery while fundraising for charities such as Mind, Marie Curie Cancer Research, Oxfam, and St Vincent. She hopes to promote sustainability in her styling work and impose the industry to make ethical fashion “sexy”.
Rishy Malik is a multi hyphenate London creative, building a solid portfolio of styling, DJ-ing, and modelling work.
Gaining inspiration from her DJ work, Malik expresses an electric aesthetic to her styling work. Styling has led her to collaborate with a range of fashion publications such as Dazed and Azeema.
Malik has recently been working on various projects simultaneously. Her major inspiration is rooted in people. She finds beauty in personal stories and ever-evolving life. Constantly asking new questions, she channels her art through connections with those around her. She mentions that her work centers around “youthful with a mix of both playful and dark”. There’s no one standard way in which she conceptualizes her work. In most instances, her ideas arise out of nowhere and she either write or attach images to the idea. From the initial thoughts, Malik then builds, “keeping it as free-flowing as possible, and no rules”.
While Malik’s favourite body of work is yet to be published, she is excited and cannot wait for her audience to gain new insight into her vision. It is very personal to her and it has been a project that she’s been developing over the last two years.
Julie Liu is a Chinese-Canadian stylist, creative director, and consultant based in London. She first stepped foot in the industry at age 17, working at her mother’s hairdresser’s beauty and photography studio. Her work infatuates the world with a sense of romanticism, power, and a hint of humor. Her talent has been captured by various magazines and acknowledged by brands such as Vogue UA, Document Journal, and Uniqlo.
Liu’s work for Primary Paper Magazine was a personal piece influenced by being a woman of colour. Liu and Olivia Lifungula, a London-based photographer wanted to “produce and represent women of colour as a steel magnolia”. A woman who exemplifies both traditional femininities as well as an uncommon fortitude. Liu has always embodied her identity and has shared her individuality with her audience.
Moreover, she puts emphasis on the beauty in the contrast of overly prepared styling outcome with spontaneity. This sense of responsibility mixed with impulsive sparks highlights her styling process. She looks to not only honor the story “she needs to tell, but also the story she wants to tell”.
While her authentic style comes from pursuing every project with a “full heart”, she constantly looks back at an old Document Journal story with Lara Angelil. To this day she sees the true inspiration behind the story and how it mirrors her creativity today. Liu is currently working on her first printed menswear editorial with a team that is soon to be released.
NEW NAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR 👀
A recent graduate of BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Production at London College of Fashion, Ieva Narvidaite is a conceptually driven stylist and creative director influenced by gothic horror and Victorian-era narratives.
In Narvidaite’s latest body of work, “We Dreamed of Escape”, she explores the narrative of escapism as a coping mechanism within the visual language of gothic horror and surrealism. This concept is further emphasized through influence from Victorian 19th-century fashion. The imagery showcases unique and challenging real-life situations through the lens of escapism by shaping alternative reality and new imaginable characters. The project is the fruit of the fantasy of the escapist.
Narvidaite mentioned that while she is still in “the process of searching for who [she] is as an artist, at this point majority of [her] inspiration comes from gothic horror animations, movies of Tim Burton, and surrealism photography of Tim Walker. She aims to provide her audience with the “hypnotic experience of alternative reality” to escape by combining elements of surrealism, horror, and fairytale.
“We Dreamed of Escape” which Narvidaite styled and directed for was the most personal editorial she has worked on and the first time she felt confident about the messages she was portraying. Narvidaite has recently connected with an upcoming photographer in which she will mould an even darker, gothic fairytale project.
Efe Asagba, also known as Twizei is a 21 year old who hails from Lagos, Nigeria. with an innovative and adventurous style. Starting his career in modelling, he has now taken a new reach into the fashion styling community globally.
In his latest project, he dug into reflecting his identity. Due to COVID, he was able to "dissect the hidden aspects of [his] mind & understand [his] true identity”. He strives to consider parts of his identity that he has never considered before, rediscovering the shadows of his character. Moreover, he mentions “the shadows of his self are similar to that of a gargoyle-liked figure” that reflects his ego.
Within his creative style, Twizei best defines his energy as “audacious”. When trying to execute his concepts he utilizes the resources around him as well as his surroundings. His favourite styling/art direction as of now is “Rema’s soundgasm”. Everything from the sound to the styling was “ART” in his authentic character.
Twizei is currently working on visuals for Rema’s debut album; ‘Rave and Roses’ which is set to drop on the 25th of March. He declares it is a ‘game changer!’
As an LCF graduate in fashion film and RMIT graduate in fashion design, Sarah Zhang has extensive experience in multiple roles within the fashion industry. Using her multi-cultural background, Zhang produces creative work that conveys a clean and muted approach.
Zhang’s latest project was an art direction work for a Chinese menswear designer brand. Her ideas developed from the current life disrupted by the pandemic where various sudden force major factors have disrupted the original world order.
She “likes to think of [her]self as a poet, and each series is a poem she composed”. Zhang wishes that people are touched when they browse her work. "Resonance" is the emotional connection she wants to establish and “a subtle sense of story”.
Moreover, she especially enjoys photographing Chinese female models. She is able to relate to their diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences. Her cultural background can be seen expressed in her creative process and concepts. Zhang hopes to incorporate inclusivity in her styling work and as a creative director.
The next project she is working on is NOWNESS, her MA films at LCF. She is working on producing an experimental film playing with light and shadow as well as 3D printing dresses to explore the theme of the cycle of reality and the future.
From the acclaimed stylist, Matt King to new names, Twizei and Sarah Zhang, 2022 fashion artists are here and ready to break the internet and capture hearts with wild visions and reflections of their personal journeys. Follow our YUGEN10 features each month to learn about the hottest trends and best creative talent making waves this year.
By Nana Kiyoshige