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Six young UK-based creatives who helped shape Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s aesthetic

Get to know the emerging British names in fashion and filmmaking who worked behind the scenes on the rollout of On the Run II and 'APESHIT'

TextBea WindsorIllustrationMiranda Baird

’03 Bonnie & Clyde, aka Beyoncé & Jay-Z, are back with the powerhouse On the Run II tour, music video “APESHIT”, and collaborative album Everything is Love, serving gob-smacking lewks and art history. The world is shaken to its core. But while the Carters (and Mona Lisa) are at the forefront of the public eye, behind the scenes is a host of young, London-based creatives who helped Jay and Bey slay. Below, we put the spotlight on the Britain-based talent who contributed to the jaw-dropping tour video and music video aesthetic, whether they were on hand filming in the Louvre, or putting the final stitches on Bey’s new avant-garde wedding dress.


The ‘OG Peckham girl’ British-Nigerian director who helped shoot the “APESHIT” video.

It is pretty clear that the “APESHIT” video wants us to question representation, power, and ownership in art. Bey and Jay renting out the whole of the Louvre (which is notoriously discerning about who they let film inside their walls) for “APESHIT” is a colossal power move. Jenn Nkiru, the London born and bred filmmaker who worked on second unit direction for the video, is au fait with all of this, having shot a film at The Tate last year. In Nkiru’s short for International Women’s Day, Afro-British dancer Zinzi Minott lets loose in the gallery space, while Nkiru focuses on questions like “who owns what?”

Nkiru, like the Carters, is passionate about celebrating blackness in her films, with work like En Vogue, which shines a disco ball on ballroom culture in New York's black LGBTQ community. Nkiru has been exceptionally busy recently, working with jazz musician Kamazi Washington on “Fists of Fury” and “Space Travellers Lullaby”, as well as a recent film, Rebirth is Necessary which is described as a “personal powerful exploration of blackness”, and won the 2018 Canal+ Award. Speaking to The Drum, Nkiru says, “I’m a woman, I’m young and I’m black: the optics of this is still rare within my industry and the old guard is still getting used to this.”


The Dazed 100-approved London stylist who put together the avant garde looks for the OTR II tour film.

Ib Kamara has been on our radar for a while now. The self-titled “Sensitive Thug” is no stranger to making waves with his work, which constantly challenges traditionally held ideas of black masculinity. Born in Sierra Leone, and raised between the Gambia and south London, the Central St Martin’s alumni’s work merges African and Western culture in a reflection of his own diasporic upbringing. For his work 2026, which was exhibited at Somerset House, he paired up with South African photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman to imagine what masculinity and fashion would be like in the future, especially for black men. He has a self-proclaimed DIY approach to fashion, even re-working pieces found in dumpsters and charity shops for his projects.

In the past, Kamara has said: “There are so many black talents finally telling our stories and hopefully it just keeps going.” His work on “OTR II” is not his first time rubbing shoulders with the Carter family, having worked as a costume stylist on Sampha’s short film “Process”, directed by Beyoncé collaborator Kahlil Joseph. We just wonder if he dared to put Queen Bey and Hov in pieces fished from the bin.


The recent CSM graduate using Donald Trump, condoms, and swimming pools to embrace the weird and wonderful.

Mohney, who originally hails from New York, is not a Brit through and through. But he is a CSM graduate who electrified LFW AW18, which we think more than allows us to lay claim to him as one of our own. Mohney sent eyebrow-raising condom dresses, a swimming pool outfit, rubber chicken hats, and Trump mask shoes – dubbed “Trumpettos” – down the runway. Speaking to Dazed, Mohney said he is “interested in...being able to wear politics.”

For the OTR II video, shot in Jamaica, Mohney’s designs have been pared back from the realm of rubber chickens and condoms, but they’re still pretty wild. Beyoncé wears a custom lace suit in bold colours, with even bolder power shoulders, and opts for Mohney’s jacket for her OTR II video wedding look. When Dazed asked him, “what do you have planned next (after LFW)?” Mohney said, “…if nothing comes my way or nothing happens then I’m going to try my best on my own and learn that way – I’ll make something happen as you do. If not then it’s just...carrying on really!”. It seems that this plan has worked – he has certainly made something happen.


The hyperrealist designer and CSM grad signalling a bold new fashion generation.

A few months back, we pegged Johnson as part of the new generation of talent to come out of CSM’s MA fashion course. His grad show designs were made up of brightly coloured geometric shapes, square and triangular silhouettes, larger-than-life shoulders which jutted out, and wide brim hats that engulfed the models’ necks and faces. There is a whiff of bravery, boldness, and individuality about Johnson’s pieces, which embody his want to “offer an alternative to ‘normal’ fashion”. This is in response to an industry which Johnson feels is “so old, it’s going through a bit of a midlife crisis. I want to offer a different prospective, and explore the limits of ultimate creativity. The world is changing and I think that a few of us in our generation are hungry for something new.”

Johnson received the Alexander McQueen scholarship at CSM, and then interned with John Galliano and Maison Margiela, and he cites these as influences for his work. He also draws on his own experiences with mental health – speaking to i-D, he says “I suffer a lot with anxiety, depression... So I just thought to myself, how do I show all this frustration? I was trying to find ways of expressing the feeling of being overwhelmed.” Johnson has been credited by both Kamara and boyfriend Mohney’s Instagram posts as helping with the OTR II video looks. Growing up in the Welsh valleys, Johnson says he was obsessed with weddings: "I would pretend marry girls from my class, except I wouldn't just be their husband. I would be the one making their wedding dress." How apt, then, that he should be involved in styling Beyonce for her OTR II video, which includes - you guessed it - a wedding dress.


The ‘multidisciplinary maker’ and ebaE founder credited alongside fellow CSM alumni on the OTR II tour film.

For years, we have been admirers of Gareth Wrighton’s non-conformist attitude to the fashion world. Back in 2014, we spoke to Wrighton while he was still a CSM student about ebaE. ebaE was founded by Wrighton to give young designers an online platform to sell their clothes on their own terms, bypassing the “conventional route of getting picked up by a high-profile store”. ebaE’s mantra was simple: “buy it. live it. luv it.”

Wrighton has never been one to resign to accepted norms. We saw this in the Loverboy club nights that Wrighton ran alongside fellow CSM wunderkind Charles Jeffrey, and theatre design grad Jack Appleyard. Loverboy brought the spirit of New York club kids to Vogue Fabrics, a small venue in Dalston, where Wrighton and other CSM kids could be found in gender-bending outfits and facepaints. In Wrighton’s work, he has used the Mall as a symbol of consumerism and fast fashion which desperately needed to be disrupted. In recent times, it seems that Wrighton’s favoured medium has become knitwear. Like Kamara, his friend and frequent collaborator, he has a DIY ethos. Kamara used Wrighton’s so-called “shitwear knitwear” in Sampha’s Process film. In humble fashion, Wrighton has not given anything away on his Instagram about his potential involvement with the Carters’ OTR II project, but Kamara and Mohney have both credited his creative involvement in their Instagram posts.



The young fashion designer and seamstress who re-thought Versace for the “APESHIT” video.

Stark received a shout-out for her work from Zerina Akers, Beyoncé’s personal stylist who created her looks for LEMONADE and for the reveal of the birth of her twins. The young Australian, London-based designer custom-stitched Bey’s regal look that she sports as she lounges with Jay-Z in the hallways of the Louvre. Stark says on Instagram that she created these looks by “revisiting garments from the Versace home range.”

Also made by Stark were the custom white durags worn by dancers in the “APESHIT” video. These headpieces seem to be a nod to the white headscarf worn by the figure in Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s “Portrait of a Black Woman (Negress)”, (1800). Stark’s work challenges contemporary visions of the female body; with images that subvert what is deemed “acceptable” in terms of body shape, bodily hair, and makeup, she works to turn female identity on its head.