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darkwah dazed 100 coach

Darkwah is disrupting the web by being themselves

The multi-disciplinary Dazed 100 alumnus share their creative journey and pick their favourite Coach pieces

Since its inauguration, the Dazed 100 has forecasted a new generation of dynamic individuals pushing culture forward in their own way, on their own terms – and this year is no different. Launching in partnership with American fashion house Coach, the 2022 iteration of the Dazed 100 taps into Generation 3.0, a new generation of creatives leading us into a new internet era. 

The internet and social media can often be an echo chamber when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but London-based creative director and stylist Darkwah uses their platform to genuinely champion inclusivity. Launching their career as fashion editor at the Gay Times, Darkwah has since gone on to work with the likes of BET, Weekday, UGG, and Meta. But regardless of the hat they wear, the one thing that remains the same is their dedication to spreading knowledge about marginalised communities and advocating for POC and queer creatives. “My process is really all about sharing my experience in real-time,” they explained speaking on their creative practices online. “Life isn’t curatable. As much as we like to curate our existences on social media, the lives we live are nowhere near as curated as we’d like others to think.”

Below we got to more about Darkwah and their creative journey thus far.

How would you introduce your creative practice? And how does it connect to the new era of the internet? 

Darkwah: My creative practice is really quite spontaneous and organic. I see everything as something to be captured, so I first amass videos, voice recordings of thoughts I’ve had, photos, moodboards on Pinterest, etc. Then, when the idea comes to me or something I feel needs sharing arises, whatever it may be, I dive into the media I’ve collected and create something to share. 

There are times I feel super glam and because I’ve had the privilege of going to certain events and moving in certain spaces, I’ll be able to post a picture and collect video footage of my friends and I while we're there (to post right away or use later). There are other times I don’t feel so good but in an attempt to lift myself up, I’ll go through my voice notes and find something that speaks to my soul. I'll also record something that is quite literally me talking to myself about something I think or feel and post it in a black reel with only the words visible so that’s what is focused on. I sometimes wish my process was more regimented but then it wouldn’t have all the different variations in presentation, mood, purpose and aesthetic.

Do you have multiple creative outlets? Please explain a little bit about your polymathic approach to work.

Darkwah: I will use anything that comes to me as a creative outlet. Conversations with my friends can be turned into creative outlets by asking them to repeat themselves into microphones and coupling their sound with montage videos created from anything and everything on my phone. Wash day for my hair is currently my new favourite creative outlet as that’s something that I do with my partner. We’ll wash, blow-dry and play with my hair to see what we can do with it and capture the things we like (for release whenever). 

I also sing opera and contemporary music – my single ‘When I Dance’ releases on all streaming platforms on December 14– and draw and sew which means I’m constantly creating bits for myself or for my partner and friends. I create content for brands and businesses (because not all my ideas are for me) and I live to dance – only I’ve not found a way to share my dancing so much yet – which I would actually love to do more.

What has your creative journey been like and what difficulties have you faced along the way?

Darkwah: My creative journey has been a long and winding one but I’ve always known I wanted to create. When I got to sixth form, I decided to put on a charity fashion show with my best friend Lucy and that’s where everything came into focus for me. I knew I wanted to use my creativity to create beautiful things but that would also help people. I went on to work in two different PR companies, Harrods, a vegan restaurant while also making and selling elastic harnesses, and styling editorials for publications such as FGUK, Vulkan, C Homme & C Femme. 

As I shared that work online both in editorials and in my personal presentation, I caught the eye of Josh Rivers, and was called in to style a shoot for GAY TIMES. That one shoot became two and then that became me taking the title of fashion editor and in that, changing the way fashion was done in the publication. I left Gay Times after two years and then moved over to BET, where I researched and wrote news stories for BET Breaks. I also presented those news stories and when doing so, I decided I was going to represent unapologetic Black queerness every time I got in front of the camera. When that ended, I wanted to start a publication. We worked and created incredible content that really pushed all of our skills to the limits only to be locked out of our emails, not paid, threatened with court action and be humiliated and verbally abused in front of colleagues by the CEO. After that, I was quite wounded – I got past that but with a lot of work and a lot of therapy to be honest. So many good people that I’d worked with along the way were also there to support me and help me bounce back.

Akeil Onunkwe-Adamson presented me with the first opportunity – at Sleek Makeup – that really moved me into the space I’m in now. I was encouraged to use my voice – talk about what I love, my journey and also the product. This went well and I’m happy to say I’m still working with them now. There are quite a few stops in the story I skipped out on but that’s how I go to where I am today. Focusing on giving back while I also gain and connect with people who really got me and pushed me to do more.

"I think I’m breaking convention by existing in the fullness of myself both on and offline. I don’t do the things I do, dress the way I dress, talk about the things I talk about so I can get clout or fame online" – Darkwah 

How do you express courage and confidence through your creative practice and how do you think your creativity and work inspires confidence?

Darkwah: I am not all that sure I express courage, if anything I’m trying to be courageous. In changing the things I share every so often, I am basically trying something new. I’m putting that new thing out into the world and hoping that it’ll resonate somewhere or with someone. I’m just always trying to reach someone somewhere – I don’t really know who but I often say I want to be the person I needed when I was 12 or 13. 

I think my creativity and work inspires confidence by just being quite honest. Especially when I create little infographics like ‘Notes for Non-Queers During Summer’ or the blacked-out spoken pieces – I’m literally talking from experience. In the former, I’m noting in real-time how I was made to feel when I was left in an area I didn’t know waiting for people who don’t identify the way I do. In the latter, I was speaking to myself because I needed to be uplifted but I thought: turn this outward because if you need it today, there’s someone else somewhere that needs it so much more than you do. It’s just straight-up, honest, direct and, I guess, relatable. The easiest way to inspire confidence in someone is, in my opinion, to listen to them and understand them; share in their experience and validate it. 

You're part of a new generation leading a new internet era. How do you feel like you’re breaking convention in your approach?

Darkwah: I think I’m breaking convention by existing in the fullness of myself both on and offline. I don’t do the things I do, dress the way I dress, talk about the things I talk about so I can get clout or fame online. I do it because it’s who and how I am, just being 100 per cent.

 Who lit the way for you in terms of inspiration? How do you hope others learn from you?

Darkwah: Oh, this is my favourite question! We have Josh Rivers, showing me that I am Black and queer and that I can own it and not apologize for it. Lerone Clarke-Oliver, Chloe Davies & myGwork and Lady Phyll. Also, Munroe Bergdorf for showing me you can own all your sexy, chic and fashion and still walk into the boardroom and get to business (legit [sic] one of my biggest inspirations). Zain Shah and Virgin X  for showing me that if you wanna do it on your own, you can; that your mind is your greatest asset and that taking care of it is paramount. Ib Kamara & Issac Poleon for demonstrating, through their work, that Blackness is not a monolith and we can all exist in whatever ways we want, however spectacularly we want.

All of these people and so many more added fuel to my fire and I could not be more grateful for their existences. I hope others learn that they are all literal supernovas from me. I hope people learn from me that they too are stars and whatever corner of the world they can reach, they are able to shine their light and be known too. 

What does Web 3.0 mean to you and how does it have the potential to make our lives better?

Darkwah: Web 3.0 means worlds and cultures are able to connect more – it means creators are able to be seen more. Important messages are being heard more, it means greater potential. We have to be aware that it also means so many more of us are being heard and that isn’t always conducive to good. Web 3.0 also means those developing it putting systems in place that can better help us filter through some of the noise and avoid some of the traps.

I think Web 3.0 has the potential to make our lives better because it allows for ease of use. When we look at things in our present day that are considered Web 3.0 like Siri, utilising them, by voice activation or to find very specific information pertaining to tasks at hand, projects and work assignments, these things allow all of us, young and old to use the web. They allow us to communicate in our mother tongues so there’s less confusion about how to ask a question.

Shop Darkwah's favourite Coach piece below. 

Swinger 20 In Signature Jacquard With Varsity Patches

Swinger 20 In Signature Jacquard With Varsity Patches


The Swinger 20 is part of The Coach Originals, a collection of archival-inspired bags that celebrates our legacy and authentic New York heritage. Based on a 1980s Coach design reimagined for today, this streamlined style is crafted of glovetanned leather and our Signature Textile Jacquard, a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles—part of our commitment to rethinking and reducing our impact on the planet by repurposing waste materials.
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Varsity Cardigan

Varsity Cardigan


Bring (and wear) your A game. Inspired by a vintage letterman's sweater, this V-neck cardigan features our playful, sporty Varsity patches and striped trim. Crafted of a soft cotton-blend, it’s finished with our name embroidered at the chest.
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Bandit Shoulder Bag

Bandit Shoulder Bag


Don’t let its name fool you: the put-together Bandit is as sophisticated as they come. Detailed with our C pushpin closure, the flap front style is crafted of luxe refined leather with a high shine finish. It features two organized compartments, a secure interior snap pocket and a shoulder strap that adjusts for crossbody wear. (But be warned, it may steal your heart).
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Scooby-Doo! Signature Crewneck Sweatshirt

Scooby-Doo! Signature Crewneck Sweatshirt


This special Coach collection stars Scooby-Doo™—everyone's favorite mystery-solving Great Dane. A classic-fit style, this soft cotton T-shirt features the fun-loving canine sleuth set against our Signature.
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Soft Tabby Shoulder Bag In Colorblock

Soft Tabby Shoulder Bag In Colorblock


The Soft Tabby reimagines our structured take on an archival 1970s Coach design with a slouchy relaxed feel. Finished with our Signature hardware for an iconic touch, this colorblock smooth leather shoulder bag features zip pockets inside and out to organize small accessories and two detachable straps to carry by hand, style as a short shoulder bag or wear crossbody.
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