Who to follow in 2020? Fave brands & people
It’s 2020, a new decade with a new focus. I started my year filtering the information I consume by unfollowing a whole lot of brands and people. Being a content creator and working in brand communications, I sometimes drown in the flood of (mediocre) content. So from this year on, I’d like to pay more attention to things that matter to me, so I can share the right things with you!
Here is a selection of my fave brands and people that have positively moved me over the years, and hopefully will do the same with you.
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Das Mag — (Dutch publisher)
Started as a literary magazine (Das Magazin) back in 2011 and grown into a publisher, Das Mag is known for a modern visual identity made by Studio Vruchtvlees (also one of my fave creative agencies). Das Mag is selective with the books they are publishing, resulting in a very special book collection. Once a year they organize a festival with reading clubs on intimate locations and summer camps for upcoming writing talents. I’m a supporter of all of this.
Daily Paper — (fashion label)
Selling T-shirts to promote their blog resulted in something bigger than the friends Hussein Suleiman, Abderrahmane Trabsini and Jefferson Osei ever imagined. These guys absolutely deserve winning the Positive Impact Award (The Best Social Award) for creating not only a successful international fashion label but a worldwide movement and a subculture of their own. Highlighting their African roots and heritage, they connect to gen z and millennials through distinctive campaigns, collabs (from Yellow Claw to Vincent Van Gogh), and intimate music-events at their stores (Wizkid, Burna Boy). Artists like Masego, Kojey Radical, Snoh Aalegra, Brent Faiyaz are being featured in their campaigns or just wear DP, which kind of completes the circle of being able to relate and speak to the youth.
Ace & Tate — (eyewear)
Founded in Amsterdam, Ace & Tate is an innovative eyewear brand with a customer-centric approach. By “cutting out the middlemen” they offer stylish & affordable (€99,-) frames directly to the customer. This way encouraging people “not be defined by a single frame over a long period of time”. The customer experience in their shops is of a high level, making the brand human and lovable.
But Ace & Tate also cares for other causes that speak to their audience; such as mental health (A-Z Guide on Optimism), music (Appelsap festival) and they do all types of collaborations with artists and creatives (Career girls podcast).
Spotify — (tech/music)
Love, love, love Spotify as a service (spend 79,877 minutes of my time in 2019 listening to music on it). But I am also a fan of how engaging they are with their users. Spotify has found ways to attract both listeners and artists and interact with them. I mean, you couldn’t have missed the whole hype of Spotify’s Year in Review that everyone shared on Instagram. I also appreciate how on point they are with their advertising campaigns, making their own memes, and giving funny responses to current events.
The Ordinary (DECIEM) — (skincare)
Recommended by my dear friend Mylène, who is the bomb when it comes to skincare; the products of this affordable cult brand are vegan and cruelty-free. Keeping their visual identity minimalistic, The Ordinary creates ‘clinical formulations with integrity’.
Founded on the principle of doing everything others don’t do they are changing the world of beauty and being recognized for that by winning hearts and awards such as the Tatler Beauty Award, the Sunday Times Style Beauty Award, the Glamour Beauty Power List and Grazia Beauty Award for Breakthrough Brand.
“We are growing quickly and incredible people from very diverse backgrounds join us every month. If you are much more than the work you do now, DECIEM is where you need to be. We choose to serve the educated, the curious and the intelligent who appreciate our dedication to this very genuine definition of quality.”
Tony’s Chocolonely — (food)
Have you ever wondered why Tony’s Chocolonely bars are unequally divided? If you didn’t know yet, it’s because of the social inequalities still happening in the chocolate industry. With their mission to make all chocolate 100% slave free, they are participating in great social causes such as monitoring and intervening child labor, offering higher prices for cocoa to farmers, and investing in various projects in Ghana and Ivory Coast through their Chocolonely Foundation.
They also have Tony’s Talks in which they share their story and mission, an annual Tony’s Fair event to raise awareness about the issues in the chocolate industry, hold exhibitions in museums, and brought out a book. They are also building their own Chocolate Factory with a rollercoaster inside, reminding me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… Let alone their chocolate bars have so many flavors, you can customize the wrapping and even create your own flavor in their Superstore in Amsterdam (Tony’s unlimited). I might be a bit head over heels about this brand, but I mean, who wouldn’t?
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Or sign the petition to take the responsibility to know who you are buying from and let’s get this movement going!
Maris-Stella-Maris — (perfume/cosmetics/mineral water)
As you may have noticed, I have a weakness for pretty packaging and design, but most of all brands that think further than profits only. Human brands that are positively contributing to the world, caring about their communities, and offering a special experience.
Maris-Stella-Maris, next to being a beautiful cosmetics brand, has a social mission: clean water for everyone, last year reaching 1 million euros for clean water projects.
Holley Murchison (entrepreneur, founder of Oratory Glory)
I met Holley a couple of years ago at The Next Web Conference and I immediately was connected to her words and vision. She is a great public speaker and she helps artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs to confidently and effectively do the same; whether it’s pitching an idea, share a story or simply tell someone about yourself. She wrote a book ‘Tell me about yourself’ and developed a free online experience together with WeTransfer/WePresent to help answer the question we’ve been asked the most.
Rachel Kennedy (art director, 180 Kingsday)
This hardworking young woman and a Young Lions Winner (Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity) helped create amazing campaigns for brands such as UNICEF and Playstation. She also hosted Ladies Wine and Design Amsterdam, a community for creative women to share experiences and empower each other growth. At the moment she is working on her own initiative that encourages pay transparency within the advertising industry called ‘Undo the taboo’.
Özlem Bulgan (content creator at Amnesty International NL, activist)
Being the face and voice of Amnesty International Netherlands, Özlem is fighting for human rights through powerful content such as explainers to raise awareness of social inequality issues, organizes the yearly Write for Rights events and frequently participates in demonstrations such as Women’s March. She is also one of my closest friends, my living newspaper, and a motivator. Want to have news in your feed that deserves some serious attention? Follow and support Amnesty
Dajiro Hama (art)
Absolutely amazing Japanese artist, who recently moved to Amsterdam. I got to know his work through the hair studio ASHES TO SNOW where I always go to. It’s actually also an art gallery with a piano, which the owner often plays. So when I’m there it’s a whole experience, I can’t even explain. Go check it out someday!
Awura Abena (founder of Creative Women Collective & Agency)
The talented Awura, a former attorney, became a creative entrepreneur & founder of the Creative Women Collective, a platform for women to share knowledge, tools, and network to maximize their creative strengths. But Awura didn’t stop there: last year she launched the Creative Women Agency that specializes in event marketing. From strategy, creative direction, storytelling, and video production, her team has the skills to organize and execute events to build a community around a product or service.
Nadine Ridder (creative strategist, speaker, activist)
Nadine is truly my inspiration! Found her through her bold articles on Adformatie on how brands and individuals should add more value to the society, she is the author of the blog We Are All Activists and an activist for equality. She also is a co-founder of IncludeNow, “an industry-wide lobby for an inclusive media and advertising sector.”
Taking brands, as she says, “out of their comfort zone”, Nadine speaks on topics such as diversity & inclusivity, focussing on the youth culture and purpose marketing. I’m with you girl!
Munganyende — Hélène Christelle (writer, social and cultural commentator)
I met Hélène Christelle (Munganyende) at one of the events of Awura, and was in awe of the calm way she was able to share her thoughts on the political emancipation of millennials with a migration background, acculturation, and feminism. Being a migrant myself, I can relate to her words and the concept of not knowing where to belong, being too foreign for your homeland, yet not completely feeling the connection with the Dutch culture either. Constantly floating somewhere in between.
Brian Elstak (illustrator, writer)
Brian is a visual artist, illustrator, painter, and writer of the children’s books Tori & Trobi (published by earlier mentioned Das Mag). His illustrations were exhibited among others in the Stedelijk Museum, The Black Archives and Tropenmuseum. His latest work in ‘Gunshots’ video clip together with Zwart Licht brings light to anti-racism topics and was created around the ‘Zwarte Pieten/Black Pete’ discussion.
Kojey Radical (illustrator, poet, music artist)
Kojey Radical, or Kwadwo Adu Genfi Amponsah is a Ghanaian-British illustrator, spoken word poet, and a music artist. I’ve been following him for a while now and, as a writer, I get chills from his verses full of deep meanings and metaphors, a modern-day Tupac — not your ordinary artist — maybe a bit weird and too alternative for some, but that’s what makes him stand out from other artists in his genre.
FKA Twigs — (singer, audiovisual artist)
FKA Twigs’ concert in Carré Theater was the most touching and arty concert I have ever been to. Nothing close to mainstream, this experimental triphop and R&B singer with a vocal range to die for, seem to be able to do it all: from tap dancing, hip-hop dancing, sword dancing to pole dancing, all while hitting notes like you are listening to opera… I was speechless and shook throughout the whole spectacle. It was the last show of her tour, so keep an eye on her Instagram page, to not miss her next concert.
And I’m of course curious about your favorites! Comment or tag below so I can check them out :)
This article was previously published here.