One Step Forward Two Steps Back
To support black creatives, I enjoy learning about and buy from independent Black fashion designers from all over the world. One of these designers is Mowalola Ogunlesi, known for her erotic and gender-fluid designs. Ogunlesi’s designs take inspiration from sex and the concept of sexiness.
Her works have centered around the 1970s and 1980s Nigerian Rock scene showcasing erotic menswear. Ogunlesi’s work screams a good time. Her latest design debuted on Instagram, a faux fur hat with various dyed fabrics, which were later reported stolen by a lesser-known black creator. It’s unfortunate to hear a Black designer have to fight for themselves not only against Ogunlesi’s fans but as well as Ogunlesi herself.
The creator of the design is Lauryn. Who uses She/They pronouns and is the owner of the UK fashion brand, Lamont. They’re not as well known as Mowalola, yet they have made remarkable collaborations and unique designs. Unique enough for the fashion experimentalist, Mowalola, to steal. Lauryn has designed for the musician, Bree Runway, and even the Juicy Couture. She is an upcoming designer with creations and ideas that need protection as well as compensation.
Lauryn’s original hat designs are unique, each hat made with her own hands, painting designs, placing bedazzles, attaching multicolor fabrics, and even designing custom ha
Often we usually see White creators taking from Black creators without giving credit where it’s due. Now, prominent black creators presenting solidarity to steal from smaller creators, and to see this, especially in the fashion industry, is upsetting. Especially in an industry that is already gate kept from Black people no matter how extensive our influence on fashion is.
Ogunlesi was lead Lauryn to believe they would collaborate and invited Lauryn to her studio where she would bring samples of the hats. To obtain samples, Lauryn used their savings to make this dream a reality. Ogunlesi never reached out to Lauryn again after the invitation. Months later, the brand Mowalola began posting Lauryn’s design as their own.
Black creatives need to protect their art, and to not be able to trust other black designers is a sad reality in the world of fashion.