The breakout name from one of spring’s finest television offerings, Daisy Edgar-Jones was one half of our lockdown obsession in the Hulu and BBC adaptation of Normal People. Her biggest role yet, the 22-year-old made her mark as Sally Rooney’s awkward and sympathetic Marianne. With the film and TV industry in pandemic pause, we might not know exactly what we’ll see her in next, but one thing is certain: her star is on the rise.
Despite launching her eponymous label back in 2014 and being shortlisted for the illustrious LVMH Prize the very same year, it was in 2020 that South Korean designer Minju Kim really upped the sartorial ante. As the winner of Netflix’s Next In Fashion, she secured $250,000-worth of investment, plus the opportunity to have her label stocked at NET-A-PORTER. Kim might have endeared herself to audiences worldwide, but ultimately she wowed the judges – a roll call of industry experts – thanks to her unique brand of future-facing femininity.
Indian poet Aranya Johar became an internet sensation in 2017, when she released the poem A Brown Girl’s Guide to Gender, which racked up one million views in two days. The subjects of her slam poetry include gender equality, body positivity and mental health. She also raises up her voice beyond her poems; aged 21, Johar is the youngest member of the G7’s gender equality advisory.
Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff made the world sit up in 2019, when she beat Venus Williams in the opening round of the Wimbledon Tennis Championship. Then 15, she is the youngest player to ever qualify for the tournament’s main draw. She has spoken out about the pressures she faced from her early successes and her desire to keep breaking barriers for the next generation. But it isn’t just in her sport that Gauff is championing change: she has been a rousing voice in the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In a moving speech at a rally in her Florida home town, alongside her grandmother, Gauff urged people to use their platforms to oppose racial inequality: “We need to not be silent.”
Trailblazer Indya Moore stars as Angel Evangelista in the television drama Pose, the multi-award-winning show based on the African-American and Latinx LGBTQ+ ballroom-culture scene in 1980s/1990s New York. Alongside acting, they have also walked in New York Fashion Week and modeled for brands such as Gucci and Dior. A member of the transgender and non-binary communities, Moore uses their public platform to advocate powerfully for visibility and awareness for their peers.
Joy Crookes is a neo-soul singer-songwriter whose music and visuals draw inspiration from her South London upbringing, Bangladeshi-Irish heritage and honest storytelling about subjects such as immigration, belonging and mental health. The 2019 single London Mine celebrated the diversity of the city, while her first release of 2020 – entitled Anyone But Me – details her own battles with mental health.
Imagine Christopher Kane eccentricity meets Dries Van Noten artistry, via Marc Jacobs eclecticism, and you’re some way to envisaging emerging designer Meryll Rogge’s FW20 collection. The Belgian designer can count both Van Noten and Jacobs on her CV, and since striking out solo last year has already become the name on many a fashion editor’s lips. Unconventional to a fault, her acid-bright knits and impeccably tailored pants were inspired by ’80s New York nightlife, but conceived in a 19th-century Flemish barn in her home town of Ghent. Much like her bucolic atelier, Rogge’s designs are a revitalizing breath of fresh air.
Carlijn Jacobs is a rising photographer and director, born in the Netherlands and now based between London and Paris, whose work has featured in the likes of Vogue, M Le Monde and Beauty Paper. Rihanna’s cosmetics brand, Fenty, has already tapped Jacobs’ offbeat, story-led aesthetic for a collaboration: following a futuristic sunglasses shoot for the brand on old Parisian sculptures last year, Jacobs recently shot a series of images featuring jewelry and shoes in her home during quarantine.
Visual and performance artist Cassi Namoda is known for the storytelling power of her vibrant and evocative works. Drawing on inspirations from her multicultural identity, Namoda’s focus is on the everyday – both the mundane and the dramatic, the joys and the hardships – of post-colonial life in Mozambique, where she was born. Following solo exhibitions in LA and Miami, her first UK show was held in pre-lockdown London this year. Namoda was also one of the artists commissioned by Vogue Italia for its January 2020 issue, which replaced photographs with illustrations for the first time in the magazine’s history as a call for sustainability in the fashion industry.
Taking the lead in Netflix coming-of-age comedy Never Have I Ever, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was chosen for the role by Mindy Kaling during an open casting call in 2019. The 18-year-old Tamil-Canadian actor has spoken about the importance of South Asian and Tamil representation on screen, and the part she is excited to play in that. Her standout performance and comedic brilliance on the show have us keen to see what she does next.
Kiley Reid’s Twitter bio states simply: “I write fiction about class, money, and race.” An understated description for her work, which offers up complex and acute characterisations, sharp cultural insights and page-turning vibrance. A recent graduate of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship), Reid’s debut novel, Such A Fun Age, became 2020’s first literary hit. Among its legion of fans is Lena Waithe, whose production company has already snapped up the film and television rights.
Mikayla Simpson is better known by her stage name, Koffee, a moniker the music industry took serious note of earlier this year, when her debut EP, Rapture, won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. She is the youngest person (then 19) and the only woman to have ever won in the category. Her contemporary take on the genre offers up just the mellow and optimistic soundtrack we all need now.
24-year-old Emma Corrin may not be a household name just yet, but soon we will see the Kent-born actor transformed into one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century. Having appeared in crime drama Pennyworth in 2019 and Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehaviour earlier this year, Corrin’s much-anticipated breakthrough role is taking on the part of Lady Diana Spencer (who was to become Princess Diana) in The Crown’s forthcoming season four.
Combining clean lines with a romantic aesthetic, London-based label Tove – derived from the Danish girl’s name meaning ‘strength’ and ‘beauty’ – is designed with the modern woman in mind. Founded in 2019 by Camille Perry and Holly Wright, who met while heading up the buying and design departments respectively of British-high-street behemoth Topshop, the label has asserted itself as a force for change within the industry, thanks to its focus on elegant, enduring and, crucially, wearable clothes.
The year got off to a flying start for soul singer Celeste, who was named BBC Music’s Sound of 2020 in January, having also won the Brits Rising Star Award at the end of 2019. While her first headline tour – scheduled to take place around Europe in the spring – was postponed due to the pandemic, her self-titled debut album is expected to be a cultural highlight later this year.
Filipino-British singer-songwriter beabadoobee (Bea Kristi) has had a dedicated cohort of fans since she released her first single, Coffee, on YouTube in 2017. Her lilting indie vibes and genre-defying quality caught the attention of industry insiders, too, and her first two EPs landed the following year. She started 2020 supporting The 1975 on their UK and North America tour dates, and an album expected later this year is eagerly awaited.
Part of the generation making waves to protect the planet, Xiye Bastida is at the forefront of the fight against climate change. The 18-year-old Mexican-Chilean activist was one of the lead organizers of the Fridays For Future movement in New York City, and her list of undertakings doesn’t stop there. As well as being a coordinator for the Re-Earth Initiative, she is on the committee of the Peoples Climate Movement. In 2018, Bastida spoke about indigenous cosmology at the United Nations World Urban Forum, receiving the ‘Spirit of the UN’ award.
Jasmine Lee-Jones’s provocatively titled first play, Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, received plaudits from critics and audiences alike when it debuted on the London stage in 2019. The playwright – then a writer on the Royal Court’s Young Court program – won Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2019. Credited with creating pieces that are culturally significant and challenge power structures, Lee-Jones’s new one-woman play, Batshit, is part of a BBC series of digital plays released during the pandemic. Set in 2021, chaos continues across the world due to unsuccessful methods of controlling the virus.
Maude Apatow’s acting career may have started out playing the daughter of her real-life mother, Leslie Mann, in movies made by her father, film-maker Judd Apatow, but in the past couple of years her credits have taken off. Following lead roles in Euphoria and Hollywood, she is also set to star in upcoming film The King of Staten Island, alongside Pete Davidson. Her red-carpet style choices are earning her fashion credits, too – from bespoke mint Miu Miu to Rodarte ruffles. Having spoken of ambitions to eventually write and direct, Apatow has her sights on taking the industry by storm.
With slouchy tailoring, cool cut-outs and artful layering quickly becoming his brand hallmarks, Peter Do (pronounced ‘dough’) creates the kind of ultra-desirable clothes that are sexy – but subversively so. The New York-based designer honed his modernist eye with stints at Céline and Derek Lam before setting up shop under his own name with a handful of friends-turned-colleagues. FW20 marks only the fourth collection for this LVMH Prize recipient, yet Do has already won over Zendaya, Solange and Beyoncé – exactly the kind of women who personify his powerful aesthetic.