Redefining masculinity through beauty
Beginning his career as a journalist, beauty entrepreneur David Yi is well placed to change tired narratives around gender norms. His beauty platform, Very Good Light, and cosmetics brand Good Light, both challenge stereotypes where men and beauty are concerned, while also offering inclusive content on topics from mental health to racial diversity.
In his words: ‘When you embrace yourself and understand you don’t need anyone else’s permission, when that good light shines from the inside out – that’s when the world changes.’ This sentiment rings true in his new book, Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty (and How to Glow Up, Too), which traces the beauty rituals of men and male-identifying people throughout the centuries. Through an illustrated history and supporting guides, it aims to encourage more people to believe that beauty and wellness is an ungendered topic.
Addressing eye health amid accelerating screen time
An optometrist and entrepreneur, Dhruvin Patel is confronting the issue of blue light damage from screens and devices head-on. Since receiving a development grant from City University in London, he has built his blue light protection business Ocushield into an internationally recognised venture.
With products that have been rated by the UK's Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency, including screen protectors, light-filtering lamps and glasses, Patel is becoming a leading authority on blue light, its impact on vision and quality of life. He has even been described as The Eye Expert, and was recently featured on the entrepreneurial reality tv show Dragons’ Den, where he was offered funding to further develop Ocushield.
Beyond creating products, Patel is also using the Ocushield platform to continue spreading awareness and education on the impact of blue light – with a YouTube channel exploring topics ranging from eyecare for young eyes to how to improve sleep.
Navigating creativity with ADHD
Harvey Wise is a designer and producer raising awareness about the experience of having ADHD as a creative. Since graduating from Kingston School of Art in 2020, Wise has applied his creative talents to music, motion graphics, art and design. One of his recent projects, A motorway of thoughts, the nonlinear creative process with ADHD, provides a visual interpretation of ADHD and creativity, and was recently spotlighted in creative publication It’s Nice That. Considering the nature of creative work, he believes that balancing passion and emotion with sensitivity will lead to strong outputs. ‘I like to deconstruct work into stages, enabling me to finish and advance or develop and go back,’ he says when explaining his working style.
Promoting food education in the Betterverse
While restaurant chains from McDonald’s to Panera have been experimenting with marketing stunts in the metaverse, Supreet Raju is seizing the opportunity to create an entire virtual world centred on food. Together with her husband, Raju co-founded OneRare, a virtual platform described as ‘the world’s first food metaverse’.
Launching with a food game focused on collecting non-fungible token (NFT) ingredients, OneRare has ambitions to become a platform promoting greater access to and awareness of food and cookery. The platform currently hosts four areas, including a virtual farm for learning about food-growing, a kitchen to discover recipes, and a playground for NFT owners to do battle through mini-games. In future, Raju hopes to expand OneRare to augment real-world food access. She says: ‘As we grow, users will also be able to swap these NFTs for real meals and deals – amalgamating our real and virtual lives.’
Cultivating community to redefine the travel sector
Although holiday-themed radio station Poolsuite might look like it stems from sunnier climes, its founder Marty Bell dreamed up the concept as a form of escapism on a winter’s day in Scotland. This spirit has underpinned a number of initiatives emerging under the Poolsuite banner, including sunglasses and Vacation, a retro-inspired suncream that 'bottles summer'.
Now, the self-described 'internet leisure corporation' has its sights set on physical hospitality experiences with the formation of a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) collective known as Manor DAO. Bell’s aim is to crowdfund the purchase of a luxury guesthouse somewhere in Europe. By empowering Manor DAO members to make key decisions about ‘everything from the location of the manor to the interiors’, Bell sets an example to the wider travel and hospitality sector in the power of cultivating community and the tech-first future of hospitality. As well as informing these key decisions, backers will earn allocated time slots to stay at the guesthouse, highlighting the real-life benefits to investing in Web3.
Crafting a multi-disciplnary future for luxury
Operating at the intersection of art, Web3, luxury brands and design, Emmanuel Olunkwa encapsulates the contemporary luxurian. As the head of content and community at digital gallery ArtOfficial, Olunkwa connects with next-generation art fans through cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Meanwhile, his multi-hyphenated approach is also leading Olunkwa to make waves in the interiors space with his brand E&Ko. As a furniture designer, he is known for creating flower-shaped side tables and sculptural chairs made from high-grade plywood. Commenting on his collection, he says: ‘When I started living alone last year, I began making furniture because I wanted my space to reflect myself for the first time.’
Beyond his independent creative ventures, Olunkwa is also leading the way in promoting a paradigm shift in the luxury sector. Already, he has consulted for brands including Farfetch, JW Anderson and Thom Browne.
Reviving repairs to future-proof fashion
Despite consumers becoming more conscious of the damaging impact of fast fashion, many still face barriers when it comes to repairing clothes, finding that they don’t have the time or skills to do so. This is where 24-year-old entrepreneur Josephine Philips is stepping in, providing a convenient and accessible app, Sojo, which profiles local tailoring businesses in London. ‘Sojo is an accessible way for [my generation] to be able to engage with tailoring and repairing through a really easy process which they’re used to doing, and that’s playing with an app on their phone,’ says Philips. Through this solution, Philips empowers people to extend the lifespan of their garments by making it easier to access alterations and repairs. At the same time, Sojo also enables independent tailors to diversify their customer bases.
Promoting African talent through storytelling
With a background in luxury fashion and publishing, and over a decade of experience at titles including Vogue, Vogue India, and Style.com in the Middle East (now Vogue Arabia), Nisha Kanabar is now channelling her creative energy into spotlighting talent from her home continent.The result is Industrie Africa, initially launched as a free, digital African fashion showroom for media and fashion stakeholders. As it grew in popularity, with nearly 70% of contact enquiries driving product purchases, Industrie Africa has transformed into an e-commerce platform. Yet, Kanabar emphasises the importance of elevating independent designers via curation and storytelling, recently launching IA Connect, a portal for discovering African fashion talent and understanding the local creative landscape. She says: ‘[This is a] platform that will serve the industry and peripheral stakeholders from the perspective of education, intelligence, insights and reports.’
Creating a digital safe space for multiculturalism
As social inequalities become increasingly apparent in Web3, Ana Constantino, co-founder of online community platform Nowhere, is working to create more inclusive virtual realms. Unlike other emerging digital spaces, Nowhere doesn’t require a crypto wallet or an NFT to join. By doing so, it lowers the financial and technical barriers that are common to Web3 platforms.
Even as the platform grows, Constantino says there will always be a free version – that's also browser-accessible – to ensure that the metaverse and its audiences can be diverse and approachable. In this way, Nowhere applies the core principles of multiculturalism, ensuring that the next iteration of the internet is an equitable space. ‘We believe culture and society benefit when people are together,’ says Constantino.
Decolonising education through social media
While we often talk about Generation Z through a future-facing lens, speaker and social media personality Kahlil Greene demonstrates how this generation are also engaging passionately with the past – and how it has led to the social justice issues they're addressing today. Known on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube as The Gen Z Historian, the 22-year-old is working to fill the gaps in historical education and politics that are conventionally left out of US school curriculums.
‘Coming up with a formula on how to break down complex issues in a way that the majority of people can grasp was something I was most proud of as a content-creator, and want to continue doing through different mediums,’ he says. Beyond his work of promoting self-learning through social media, Greene also works with organisations to help them bridge the gap between Gen Z and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.