“When young talents are given a seat at the table, these new voices bring new ideas, allowing them to flourish,” Virgil Abloh writes of the next-generation thought leaders who are inspiring hope now.

From the rising stars working tirelessly to push the sustainability agenda to the visionaries behind the camera guiding us into a new realm of storytelling — this is your rundown of the talents to know, as nominated by the greatest names in fashion today.

If you’re not already following runway star Blessing Orji, photographer Lean Lui and stylist Ib Kamara, add them to your Instagram feed now. Here’s to fashion’s unsung community spirit and the champions of change, both emerging and established.

1. Tom Ford on fashion designer LaQuan Smith


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If it ain’t foreign, it’s borin.

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“LaQuan Smith is a young designer that I think is great. He has tremendous passion for what he does. He has everything it takes to be a star in the fashion industry: talent, a vision, ambition, charm. I tried to hire him several years ago but he was off on his own by then… One night over a quiet dinner in LA, he recounted to me the story of how he got started in fashion and it was one of those great stories that made my sometimes cynical view of our industry melt away. But I will let him tell that tale in one of the many interviews that he will be giving in what will hopefully be a long career.”

2. Virgil Abloh on stylist Ib Kamara


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Day 13 self portrait

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“The new generation is paving the way for the industry as a whole — from content creation to innovative ideas through social media, which translate to the ‘now’. This younger generation is essential in successfully developing a dialogue with consumers and the fashion world. Ib Kamara has been an incredibly influential talent of this new generation — he’s most recently styled my Off-White Resort 2021 Collection lookbooks. When young talents are given a seat at the table, these new voices bring new ideas, allowing them to flourish. Their brains are already tuned into social media and current events, it’s in their DNA and they’re learning from each other and cross referencing things. With such eagerness, creativity and presence in the now, the new generation is an inspiration for this transformative time in the industry.”

3. Daniel Lee, creative director Bottega Veneta, on Central Saint Martins’ BA fashion graduates


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set your alarm clocks – bafcsm.com designed by @_philipmarshall with BA Fashion #is #live ! Show launching at 2pm

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“Now feels like a moment for collective thinking. That’s why I chose to nominate the graduating class of my former college, Central Saint Martins’ fashion design BA course. In the most unique of recent times, they’ve demonstrated the power and resilience of creativity. Central Saint Martins helped inform who I am as a designer and I feel it is so important to champion the place that continues to give that experience to so many. With the students being unable to present their work this year as they would normally do, it is more important than ever to provide the creatives of tomorrow with innovative platforms to express their ideas.”

4. Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director Dior, on photographer Lean Lui


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“I became aware of Lean Lui and her work last year when my daughter Rachele was photographed for a magazine feature, and Lean Lui was commissioned for the task. I was really struck by her sense of awareness and her natural ability to engage with a young woman like her, intuitively and respectfully capturing the more intimate aspects of her character. She represents a new generation of artists and photographers who are reinventing fashion photography and above all, deconstructing the stereotypes associated with portraying women. So I asked her to collaborate with Dior for our magazine, as well. I’m working with photographers from a multitude of countries: I’m interested in asserting the female gaze, but also the importance of acknowledging the different cultures and experiences these artists bring with them.”

5. Victoria Beckham on fashion designer Daniel W Fletcher

“As a patron of Graduate Fashion Week in London, it’s hard for me to single out just one person in the next generation of fashion talent — there are so many amazing designers doing such interesting and innovative things. At the moment, if I had to choose just one name, I’d say I’ve been particularly impressed with Daniel W Fletcher, who presented his collection this summer at Digital London Fashion Week. He’s actually a VB alumni, and used to work in my store on Dover Street in London, so it makes me especially proud to see his work getting the attention it deserves. He creates the most beautiful genderless collections, which I think is such a refreshing, future-thinking approach to fashion.”

6. Olivier Rousteing, creative director Balmain, on fashion designer Marine Serre


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During the MARÉE NOIRE SS20 fittings Photography @__giulia_roman Model @elisecrombez

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“Marine Serre is one of the most important talents of the future. Her aesthetic is really strong with a modern, clear vision. She has a point of view and she defines the future of the world in her own way with a universe that is hers — breaking the rules and daring to be out of the conventional fashion system. I think, for example, her last show before the pandemic was more than the show, but a vision of the future world. She has shown her strength, her passion and given a new sense of what the word ‘fashion’ means. Her show became, in a way, political and that is going to be the future of fashion — not an expression of clothes, but delivering a strong message that is yours, no matter what the trend is and above all, a universal message. She is someone strong and someone that [history] will remember for sure.”

7. Michael Kors on filmmaker Haley Elizabeth Anderson and fashion designer Folake Kuye Huntoon

“I’m an eternal optimist, so I try to find hope everywhere. Right now, I’m working with two very talented women for separate upcoming projects who are really at the top of their game. Haley Elizabeth Anderson is a filmmaker, writer and artist who has a keen eye and original approach. She’s sophisticated with great taste, and her work has a lot of wisdom and depth, especially for someone so young. And Folake Kuye Huntoon is a Nigerian designer and the owner of her own company, FKSP, which produces all of its pieces in its own factory in the heart of the LA fashion district. Supporting talented female creators and entrepreneurs fills me with great hope for the future.”

8. Vivienne Westwood on activist Greta Thunberg

“‘Our house is on fire.’ Greta Thunberg is the one public person saying this: ‘Nobody is doing anything, I want you to panic.’ She’s made an enormous impression; people now feel responsible. For example, the climate strike had more intensity and more volume because of her example. If Greta was world controller, it would be great.”

9. Silvia Venturini Fendi on artist Nico Vascellari


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This Play Between Sheets. #telepathy

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“Creativity has and always will be a way of self-expression, a message of strength and spirit, especially when we are faced with great adversity. Sometimes the most simple message can also evoke a powerful impact on our mind and beliefs, and artist Nico Vascellari’s artwork and messages of hope are such a profound source of inspiration for me. In Dark Times We Must Dream with Open Eyes by Vascellari creates a true connection with humanity in this moment, as we can’t simply dream of our future — we all must be the ones shaping it.”