MIILKIINA COMMUNITY 100
We’re back with another round of #MiilkiinaCommuniity to support and amplify the connection of global creative talent. Miilkiina Communiity is a curated index spotlighting members of our global community and beyond who inspire us. Our list will spotlight 25 individuals quarterly, and will evolve into a guide for discovery, learning, mentoring, and establishing meaningful relationships.
MEET THE COMMUNIITY
1. Wekaforé Jibril
Wekaforé is truly the embodiment of creativity at large. Born in Lagos, he relocated to Dubai as a teenager before finding his permanent home in Barcelona. Here, he was able to cave his own space and build a community of like minded creatives that support him in all his endeavors. Aside from designing for his brand – Wekafore – he also releases music projects under the name Spirit Disco and Egosex and runs a creative agency called The Voodoo Children.
2. Paula Andrea
Paula Andrea is a Columbian-born, NYC-raised photographer, art director and founder of Visa Issues, a multi-part shop, and ongoing project shining light on immigration and immigrant narratives. The clothing brand explores the struggles, joys, and experiences immigrants and people experiencing visa issues go through, standing for acknowledgment and community.
3. Rahemur Rahman
London-based designer Rahemur Rahman is an advocate for sustainability and changing the narrative around “Made in Bangladesh”. His collections are created in collaboration with artisans at Aranya and feature traditional prints and left over fabrics. Passionate about everything that has to do with social affairs, Rahemur is part of a wave of conscious designers that are here to challenge the status quo.
4. Sarah Hermez
Sarah Hermez has dedicated her career to making sure education is a right, and not a privilege. Sarah co-founded Creative Space Beirut School of Design based in Lebanon, a tuition-free school for fashion design in 2011 alongside her former Parsons professor Caroline Simonelli. The school is radically committed to diversity and inclusivity within its programs, and admits a small pool of students each year on the sole basis of talent and determination. Alongside founders George Rouhana and Tracy Moussi, the school became part of a larger social enterprise, as they launched CSB, the flagship label of Creative Space Beirut, in order to sustain and grow the School. CSB is a dynamic collaboration between the students, alumni, teachers, and affiliates of the school.
5. Akilah Townsend
Born and raised in the Southside of Chicago, Akilah Townsend taught herself how to handle the camera. Inspired by the emotional essence of color and how light interferes with its spectrum, her work features warm, saturated hues that softly caress and enhance the subject. The protagonists of her images are individuals part of her community and friendship circle. Her talent in freezing motion on a bi-dimensional level is remarkable and thoughtful.
6. Prod Antzoulis
Prod Antzoulis is a Cypriot born photographer and creative director raised in Dubai. With an aesthetic firmly rooted in the Middle East, Prod captures the on-ground lifestyle and consumer culture while attempting to narrate his journey, mapping reference points which allow him to decipher his cross-cultural identity. His work reflects an honest and unedited series of moments revealing the eccentricities and particularities of places and people. Prod’s work has been featured in Vogue Italia, GQ, Schön!, as well as our very own Miilkiina.
7. Sudan Green
Sudan is an activist, artist, and now entrepreneur. He founded ‘Spirits Up!’ in the summer of 2020 as a response to the civil unrest going on in the world but more specifically Philadelphia. ‘Spirits Up!’ was created to bring healing not only to Philadelphia, but to surrounding cities and areas that could also join in on collective meditation, art, yoga and mindfulness all under the lens of black and indigenous liberation.
8. Roxanne Navaï
Born and raised in Toronto, Roxanne Navaï is the founder of boutique PR agency RX STUDIO. A graduate of the London School of Economics & Political Science, Roxanne has a diverse and global background in digital marketing, fashion and music. She gained her start working with a music collective in Shanghai in 2015, and most recently spent over two years on the creative and digital strategy team at Karla Otto in London. Roxanne founded RX STUDIO in 2020 to represent and support emerging, POC-owned fashion and design brands.
9. Roni Helou
Roni Helou is a conscious ready-to-wear designer based in Beirut. After graduating from Creative Space Beirut School of Design in 2016, Roni showcased his collection at Fashion Forward Dubai for two seasons under the patronage of Rabih Kayrouz and the Starch Foundation. With sustainability, free education, human and animal rights at the heart of his eponymous brand, Roni works to uphold these values in everything he does, from sampling to production and everything in between.
10. Stephen Tayo
Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Stephen Tayo has made a name for himself in the fashion industry thanks to the unfiltered aesthetic of his photography and his ways of immortalizing the kaleidoscopic patterns of his hometown and direct community. A pivotal figure in the creative Renaissance of Nigeria, Stephen’s name has been steadily inflating over the course of the past two years. Now, he’s the go-to photographer for Afro-Beats artists and international media looking to frame the local creative scene.
11. Michael Rotimi
Founder of OFFSHORE, a multidimensional talent management and modeling agency, Michael Rotimi moved to New York City from Philadelphia after realizing he had a knack for scouting unconventional beauty. Resilience and self-confidence drove his success as he got his foot in the door of the industry by tirelessly emailing casting directors and models.com. His innate talent for finding the next most sought after face stems from his ability to observe and survey his immediate community. If you are looking for relatable beauty and have an artistic approach to casting, he’s your man.
12. Junior Adesanya
An alumni of London’s bustling streetwear scene, Junior Adesanya created Cremate to provide an alternative, well designed option for those looking to set their own rituals and traditions. An incense brand inspired by the mystical atmosphere of crystal shops juxtaposed with a Japanese aesthetic attitude, Junior is making waves in the industry by collaborating with some of the hottest names and coming up with iconic products.
13. Marcella Camara
Marcella Camara is the founder and curator of Young Gifted & Broke, a pop-up art gallery and creative consultancy giving spaces to creatives of color. On a foundation of wellness, community, and culture, YGB supports creatives and creates equitable art spaces. Marcela aims to continue to uplift the voices of Black artists, makers, and organizations through a series of activations and initiatives.
14. Cynthia Merhej
LVMH 2021 semi-finalist Cynthia Merhej is the third of a generation of women to begin her own atelier, following in the footsteps of her great-grandmother and mother. After studying Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins in London, Cynthia returned to Beirut in 2016 to found Renaissance Renaissance, a contemporary exploration of a unique female couture heritage. At the core of the brand is the desire to create work that intimately reflects the many contradictions of being a woman today and will accompany her through different cycles of her life.
15. Olu Alege
Olu Alege has been part of the Miilkiina Community since the very beginning. A born and bred native of the Bronx, Olu founded NoNoise to bring real cultural insight to those companies looking to connect with tastemakers and societal shakers at grassroots level but lacking street sensibility. As a pivotal connector and plug for us too, Olu is the one insider you want to add to your network.
This index is not an exhaustive list. This is an opportunity to recognize the change-makers that are learning, challenging, and dreaming, just like we are. With that being said, we want to hear from you. We want to know the names and talents that are inspiring you from all around the world. Tell us who you think needs to be recognized, who is contributing to the betterment of their society, fighting for a cause, or reshaping their industry.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and share the name, location and brief description of your nomination.