how did Ibrahim kamara become the head of two giants in contemporary youth culture?
journalist, stylist, creative director and designer. ibrahim or “IB” kamara cannot not be ignored in menswear fashion right now.
Born in sierra lone and raised in London. Ibrahim has no shortage of cultural references. the current creative director at off-white boasts off a very rich background. not just geographically but in fashion as well.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It all started in 2026.
Not the future. (although we are tempted to believe that is where he is from because his take on masculinity is what most creative’s are just starting to tap into). 2026 was actually the name of his curated exhibition in London. that first brought attention to him in 2016.
The exhibition was styled by ib kamara. it featured second hand outfits on street-cast models from Soweto.
The theme of the exhibition was black African Masculinity. it challenged all the conventional narratives.
sexuality, race and gender appropriation in fashion. (all of which would become a consistent theme in IB’s work). he also hinted at what menswear would look like a few years from that time.
A certain Robbie spencer from dazed magazine took interest in the young IB kamara. and that lead to his first fashion editorial.
IB’s first issue for the magazine tackled sensitive topics like national health service and working together for change. he had a vision for the magazine. he wanted it to appeal to not just the fashion world.
To have a more global and inclusive voice. that was his vision for dazed.
He went on to become the editor-in-chief of the magazine. it was announced in 2021 after the lockdown.
His focus on representation and inclusivity, justifies his current position.
Dazed wasn’t the only magazine that noticed IB.
He has worked for recognized fashion and pop culture media publications like British vouge, Vouge Italia, system and W. he was also appointed as senior editor-at-large for I-D magazine in 2019.
His efforts in journalism earned him awards like the Isabella blow award presented by the british fashion council.
Fun fact; IB kamara is a graduate of Fashion Communication from Central Saint martins.
IB kamara’s expressive nature and artistic vison is so much more undiluted in his styling.
he has styled runway shows and advertisement campaigns for big houses/bands like burberry, Erdem, louis Vuittion, Dior, fenty Stella McCartney and most significant off-white.
you see, the late Virgil Abloh. the former creative director and founder of off-white. and former creative director at louis Vuitton.
took a special liking to IB. he saw a version of himself in him.
It was Virgil that would go on to famously say;
“An IB comes along once in a generation” and ” His work is a prime example of how diversity can bring out the best of the fashion industry”.
after Virgil’s tragic death in 2021. months later, off-white named Ibrahim as their art and image director.
So far, IB has creatively directed Off white’s spring 2023 and Fall 2023 RTW runway collections.
Exploration of the human body and out of this world lunar delivery were the themes of the shows respectively.
star-studded and not lacking in good reviews, the shows displaying IB’s boundary pushing ideas have only hinted at much more to come from the visionary.
check out the fall 2023 show below;
STRUGGLES AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Things have not always been rosy for the editor/stylist/designer.
being a gay, African man does not stack the odds in your favor. aside having to deal with inevitable racist and homophobic hostility. IB has also openly discussed his struggles with dyslexia.
so it’s safe to say he has had his fare share of challanges.
we all know fashion is still lacking in representation. creatives like IB kamara are a reassuring sign of hope for a more inclusive and explorative future in menswear. and fashion as a whole.
in an interview with new yok times. speaking on how he found his way in fashion. IB said
“I hope I inspire people of all colors and backgrounds to unapologetically express themselves,” he said. “That’s the outsider’s legacy. You do your own thing, then hopefully the world catches up to it one day”IB kamara for new York times
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