From culture to food and fashion, these are the 23 rising stars to look out for in 2023

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

From emerging names in fashion to the UK’s up-and-coming restaurateurs, here are the rising stars of 2023 that you might not have heard of

With 23 names, we explore the possibilities of the year ahead (Composition: David M Benett/Getty/Gareth Cattermole/Getty/Ian West/PA Wire)

By Anna Cafolla

From models of the moment to Stormzy-approved music producer prodigies, sports stars set to make history, and fervent grassroots campaigners, 2023 is a year we can at least look forward to celebrating a new generation of rising stars.

With 23 names, we explore the possibilities of the year ahead through the creatives and innovators approaching their respective worlds with a view to change things up – whether that’s in Westminster or Web3 (the next evolution of the internet building off the current Web 2.0).

1. Alva Claire: Fashion

Model of the moment Alva Claire, 30, represents fashion at its truly transformative. Claire, a Jamaican American, London-born and Brooklyn-based curve model, is now on a stratospheric ascent after a decade in the industry. Last fashion month, she walked in over a dozen shows across London, New York, Paris and Milan for brands from 16arlington to Harris Reed.

Claire also starred in Rihanna’s SAVAGE x Fenty show, and created a capsule collection with Danish label OpéraSPORT. A name that will surely reach the same levels of ubiquity as Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell in years to come.

(Photo: David M. Benett/ Getty Images for Dr. Martens)
Alva Claire also starred in Rihanna’s SAVAGE x Fenty show, and created a capsule collection with Danish label OpéraSPORT (Photo: David M Benett/ Getty/Dr Martens)

2. Tendai: Music

Tendai is a tenacious young voice in British music, melding soul, R&B and alt-pop to create cinematic sounds. At just 22, he signed to the UK’s imprint of the iconic label Def Jam and produced on labelmate Stormzy’s third album.

The gifted east London producer and artist’s diaphanous singles – “Not Around” and “Infinite Straight” – are haunting and thrilling, impossible to pin down. Tendai presents endless possibilities in his own work and for the established British greats he’s poised to work with.

3. Nida Manzoor: Culture

British-Pakistani writer and director Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts was one of 2021’s standout sitcoms – a bolshy affair centred around a Muslim female punk band that highlighted the multiplicity of young Muslim women today.

Her debut feature film, feminist action-slash-wedding-heist comedyPolite Society will star Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara, and debut in 2023 at Sundance Festival.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Nida Manzoor attends the Women In Film & Television Awards 2022 at London Hilton on December 2, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for WFTV Awards)
British-Pakistani writer and director Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts was one of 2021’s standout sitcoms (Photo: David M Benett/ Getty/WFTV Awards)

4. Athian Akec: Campaigning and Politics

An impassioned speech to parliament on knife crime by young and determined leader, activist, and writer Athian Akec is sampled by singer Loyle Carner on his powerful “Blood On My Nikes”. Akec, 20, spent his teenage years as Camden’s youth MP, and continues to speak out on systemic racism in British politics and policy.

At the same time, his writing for The Guardian, i-D and Dazed highlights black excellence and history, and the intersections of art, social justice, and climate on black British life. An illuminating, galvanising perspective.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Athian Akec speaks on stage during WE Day UK 2020 at The SSE Arena, Wembley on March 04, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Athian Akec is sampled by singer Loyle Carner on his powerful ‘Blood On My Nikes’ (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty)

5. Akwasi Brenya-Mensa: Food

London’s African food scene is ever-expanding, and Akwasi Brenya-Mensa is at its forefront. The chef and restaurateur opened the doors of pan-African restaurant Tatale last summer in the South London Africa Centre, with a neat menu that both holds reverence for and innovates around his mother’s cooking, hall party staples and love of Ghanaian chop bars.

There’s beautiful black eye bean hummus, crunchy plantain chips, ackee croquettes with rapid fire hits of scotch bonnet, and the beloved chichinga buttermilk chicken. Get booked in for 2023!

6. SS Daley: Fashion

Steven Stokey-Daley’s menswear is built on his heritage as a working class boy from Liverpool, and revels in the theatrics and decadence of charmed English elites, reinterpreting the aesthetic to question class systems and masculinity in modern Britain: think histrionic, billowing shirts and flashes of brocade clash with sportswear and knits.

Already worn by Emma Corrin, Mick Fleetwood, and Harry Styles, Stokey-Daley scooped the LVMH Prize for young designers in 2022, and was awarded the British Fashion Council Foundation Award for best emerging designer. With deadstock fabrics, diverse casting, and sell-out duck cardigans, expect to see SS Daley on both men and women next year.

(Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Already worn by Emma Corrin, Mick Fleetwood, and Harry Styles, Stokey-Daley scooped the LVMH Prize for young designers in 2022 (Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

7. Issac Poleon: Beauty

The versatility and beauty of Black hair is made art by hairstylist Issac Poleon, with his signature sculpted updos, braid crowns, and blossoming afros. His fearless, sensual, and experimental styles has brought him to work with Adwoa Aboah and Jorja Smith, as well as on Fenty, Valentino, and Gucci campaigns, and in the pages of Vogue and i-D magazines.

Soon there won’t be a red carpet, high fashion mag or gut-punch popstar music video without Poleon’s touch.

8. Nigel Matambo: Technology

It’s a new era of the internet, and Nigel Matambo is one of the most ambitious people steering it. The Leeds-based, Zimbabwean interdisciplinary designer has made waves in augmented reality, creating one of the first applications of digital wearables with Louis Vuitton and the late Virgil Abloh.

His brand, Sununguro, continues to innovate in Web3 (the next version of the internet). And having already worked with Nike, Pharrell Williams and Meta (formerly Facebook), Matambo’s vision of the year ahead brings digital wearables and digital avatars to the masses. Your metaverse self is going to dress well.

9. Sheyi Cole: Culture

Sheyi Cole as Alex Wheatle in Steve McQueen’s Bafta-winning Small Axe was the entrance of an exciting emerging British talent – a role he bagged while still at drama school. Now graduated, the 21-year-old had turns in Donald Glover’s Atlanta and comedy Boxing Day.

For 2023, Cole has a part in The Beautiful Game, a film about the Homeless World Cup which also stars Bill Nighy and Micheal Ward, and will star in Steven Soderbergh’s series Full Circle.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Sheyi Cole attends the Soho House Awards at Soho House on September 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
For 2023, Cole has a part in The Beautiful Game, a film about the Homeless World Cup (Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

10. Debbie: Music

Debbie is a soul singer in every sense of the word – honeyed, reflective songs that traverse life, love and limerence; celestial music you feel in every fibre of your body. Her Jools Holland appearance in October 2022 spellbound an audience with a performance of “Cherry Wine”, and she gained more recognition from writing with Stormzy and opening for John Legend. With a compact and stunning back catalogue of silky R&B so far, a debut album is on the horizon.

11. Jake Bridgeland: Photography

The London-based photographer’s high-octane, kinetic work set an aesthetic backdrop for 2022, with bright and surreal images of Robert Pattinson and many other personalities for GQ magazine, which caused an online frenzy. Bridgeland has also photographed pop star Rosalia, as well as snapping editorial campaigns for Mugler and Diesel. He has an instantly recognizable, playful, cartoon-inspired style that will seep into the style consciousness for 2023.

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