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Upcoming Designers are Everywhere

A Look at Emerging Powerhouses in the Design Field

While beginning a career in design is a difficult journey, especially for young people or those switching from unrelated fields, many designers find their start at expected times. Often designers feel drawn to design even as kids, and for many this passion can blossom into early careers. Design can begin anywhere there is a need for it, at any age or any stage of life. Here we have a few upcoming designers that have caught our attention.

By Amber Evans

The youngest on this list, 16-year-old Emeka Wajed has been customizing shoes out of his home in Buffalo, New York since merging his love of art and shoes back in 8th grade. He describes himself as “a cartoonist without an outlet.” Taking inspiration from his everyday life, his shoes are often themed around anime characters or athletes.

Ethan Nakache graduated from Ensav La Cambria, Brussels in 2019 and is making a name for himself with his typography. “During my teenage years, I was really into graffiti. I think that’s how everything started,” Ethan said. With types like Sprat, Talona, and Structure (and his new font Goodman still in development, according to his Instagram), Ethan says that he always starts with taking inspiration from concepts he sees in old lettering advertisements.

Recognized by Young Guns design awards for her illustration and animation skills, Debora Cheyenne is a multidisciplinary artist who works as an Art Director at Buck. This design, created for a scarf made in collaboration with the brand After School, along with many of her other works bring awareness to the issue of African culture being represented negatively and celebrate the Black community.

21-year-old Kristopher Kites, known for his art and jewelry design, describes himself as “designing for a living.” Known best for his barbed wire necklaces, nostalgic pendants based around cartoon characters, and t-shirts, he also recently became RSVP Gallery’s First Artist in Residence. RSVP Gallery Los Angeles Manager Lance Jackson tells Complex that, “Kris is a visionary. He sees things like no one else can. He can set the blueprint for future designers to expand upon.”

Recently entering the architecture field and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2018 (after studying medicine at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels until 2014), Dahlia Subasi often uses hemp, straw, and natural materials to show alternative material choices to the construction industry. In a blog post she explains how her background in biology works with her new interest in design to inspire her to combine nature and construction to make sustainable architecture.