on the rise

5 Up-and-Coming Designers Changing the Fashion Industry

As seen through the lenses of five of our favorite photographers.

Bola Edun models a matching bustier and pant set designed by Asata Maise. Photo: Joshua Kissi
Bola Edun models a matching bustier and pant set designed by Asata Maise. Photo: Joshua Kissi

Fashion is always obsessed with the current moment, but this moment is more complicated than most. Throughout this past spring and early summer, the Cut’s style team met regularly to discuss the state of fashion in a year rife with struggle and change. We found ourselves thinking about not just the major luxury brands, but also the up-and-comers — those young designers who are just emerging and whose vision might define the future.

For our new series, “On the Rise,” we photographed five of our favorites: Tia Adeola, Anifa Mvuemba, Karina Sharif, Asata Maisé, and Sade Mims. Each designer was paired with a different photographer, but the same model — Bola Edun — appeared in each portfolio. Scroll down to see a selection of images from the series.

Designs by Tia Adeola, seated at left. Photo: Lelanie Foster

Tia Adeola gained fame in the fashion world after celebrities like Dua Lipa, SZA, Gigi Hadid, and Kali Uchis all wore her cropped tube top. Here, Tia and her designs are photographed by Lelani Foster, a trained modern dancer from the Bronx whose work often grapples with identity and beauty.

Edun (right) and designer Anifa Mveumba (left) wear pieces by Mveumba. Photo: Justin French

Anifa Mveumba’s most recent collection, Pink Label Congo, is inspired by her family’s country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here, Mvuemba and Edun are photographed by Justin French, a Chicago-born artist with a background in portraiture photography.

Edun models designs by Karina Sharif, featured in the photo on the left. Photo: Stephanie Mei-Ling

Karina Sharif creates unexpected, sculptural pieces out of paper. She was paired with Stephanie Mei-Ling, a documentary photographer who is passionate about exploring different narratives and societal issues within her work.

Edun models designs by Asata Maise. Photo: Joshua Kissi

Asata Maisé is a self-taught designer who reworks vintage fabrics into pieces that felt at once timely and nostalgic. Here, her work is photographed by Joshua Kissi, a Ghanaian America photographer and entrepreneur who has co-founded both the creative agency Street Etiquette and the diversity-focused stock-photo website TONL.

Edun (right) models designs by Sade Mims (left). Photo: Shan Wallace

Sade Mims started making jewelry in 2013 and launched her line Edas in 2015. Here her designs are photographed by Shan Wallace, a visual artist from East Baltimore who often explores Black life in her work.

5 Up-and-Coming Designers Changing the Fashion Industry