Meet the rising menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner, the force behind fashion line, Wales Bonner. Wales Bonner explores black male sexuality and identity with far-ranging creative sources, from 19th century Africa to Chanel and 70s blaxploitation films.
Born in London to an English mother and Jamaican father, the 25-year-old approaches fashion with an anthropological eye and bold, theatrical presentations.
“I am drawn to black culture as a way of understanding that side of my heritage, and interested in how black identity is manifested through rhythms, how something like jazz can disrupt conventional European rhythmicality,” she told Dazed. “I am hugely inspired by the black painter Kerry James Marshall and the 70s genre blaxploitation, both play with and disturb institutionalised notions of blackness.”
She won Emerging Menswear Designer at the 2015 British Fashion Awards and, as of this year, her gender crossing current collection will be sold as womenswear at matches.
Grace was listed on this year’s inaugural Forbes Under 30 Europe list, which profiles the 300 young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across Europe who are under 30 years of age and who are transforming business, technology, finance, media, culture and more, as judged by some of the most accomplished and acclaimed individuals in each category.