From Gen Z and beyond, explore emerging markets and micro shifts in youth consumer behaviour
The fourth instalment of our Futures 100 Innovators spotlights people designing hotel ambience, making alcohol healthier and uplifting Caribbean creativity.
In this month’s Futures 100 Innovators, we reveal 10 more names in our global longlist and awards, featuring a global line-up of 100 innovators, disruptors, activists and change-makers.
Each month, we will profile 10 people that our team of researchers and analysts have identified as driving forward industries ranging from beauty and wellness to luxury, design, retail and travel. After 10 months, our complete Futures 100 Innovators list will be presented to a panel of industry judges who will select and award their 10 leading innovators, revealed in October 2022.
You can also nominate your own innovators via: [email protected]
Challenging the status quo of beauty education
After spending three years with the environmentally driven beauty brand, Lottie Rowlatt was recently appointed head of learning at Haeckels, and will be spearheading the forthcoming launch of the company's beauty school. It’s an apt fit – Rowlatt has a background in beauty therapy and education, working as a lecturer in the public sector and London beauty schools. It was when Haeckels moved its HQ to a disused casino on the Margate seafront that Rowlatt was tasked with creating a programme of courses for the beauty brand to aid its transformation into education.
These courses include national qualifications (NVQs) for massage, facial electrotherapy, and the gut-skin axis, which highlights the role of the gut in many skin concerns. Among its facial skincare courses, Rowlatt is passionate about focusing on care for melanated skin. She explains that this particular course was vital due to the fact that ‘skincare and beauty qualifications are lacking in information on how to treat darker skin tones effectively'. As a result, Haeckels is helping to remove ‘the existing bias in the skincare industry, making it a more inclusive place to be for all skin tones’.
Addressing the next generation's mental health crisis
In an increasingly anxious world, it’s clear the mental health crisis is only intensifying. Developing this conversation to include the next generation, Helen Egger is a child psychiatrist who is encouraging society to nurture the wellbeing of people from a young age, rather than finding solutions later in life.
In 2020, together with her daughter Rebecca, Egger launched Little Otter, a platform that makes mental health tools and treatments accessible to families through technology. The platform takes a unique approach in that it is personalised to each family, assigning them a personal care lead who will review the family’s most pressing needs and create an ongoing care plan. This method – which the brand says helps 85% of families reach clinical improvements within six sessions – takes into account Egger’s 30 years of psychiatric expertise.
Issues within the gut are at the root of many skin concerns, so in order to treat the skin effectively as a therapist it’s essential to have a good understanding of gut health
Coding a more creative web eco-system
Rifke Sadleir is a creative technologist and one half of art direction and digital design studio, DXR Zone, alongside art director Daniel Baragwanath. Her work encompasses design, web development and illustration, often spanning the arts, fashion and music, resulting in a client list that ranges from Google and Burberry to Converse and Universal.
One of Sadleir's most impressive commissions is the site for Climate in Colour, an online education platform for climate conservation, founded by Joycelyn Longdon, a climate researcher currently studying for a PhD at Cambridge University. In addition, she combined her coding skills and music knowledge to found imissmymates.club, an online radio station that is live for just a few hours per day. When it's offline, the station website features a 'smoking area', a forum for listeners to have conversations, as well as the chance for anyone to apply to host a show.
Using ancient herbalism to make healthier wine alternatives
A former Miss USA winner and professional volleyball player, Nana Meriwether is a pioneering Black winemaker based in North America, and founder of drinks brand Navina. The wellness company is focused on alcohol alternatives, creating cleaner wines made with herbs and botanicals.
Meriwether's journey to becoming a winemaker began in 2017, when she was informed by her doctor that she was on the verge of being pre-diabetic. As a result, she started a blog to explore her wellness journey, and, as well as diving into the usual topics of yoga and meditation, she discovered some unsavoury truths about sugar consumption. The resulting product is low in sugar, alcohol and calories, making it an ideal weekday drink, according to Meriwether. Made using premium non-GMO wine grapes sourced locally from northern California, the wine is putting a fresh spin on the ancient tradition of herbal wine practised by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.
Everything I eat has a purpose and is mindful now, and I wanted to extend that to my social life
Transforming how the world speaks to Black travellers
Renowned as a driving force in the Black travel movement, diversity in travel consultant Martinique Lewis is committed to broadening the representation of who identifies as a traveller, ensuring that brands such as Airbnb and Hilton consider the experiences of Black travellers – and how these experiences might differ from those of white travellers. Aligning with this vision, Lewis sits on the advisory board of Condé Nast Traveler and serves as the president of the Black Travel Alliance.
In a bid to connect the African diaspora globally, Lewis published The ABC Travel Green Book in 2020. The directory acts as a modern equivalent to Victor Hugo Green’s guidebook for African-American motorists, listing Black-owned businesses, restaurants, tours and festivals all over the world. In 2021, she followed it up with an edition for children, helping the next generation to better understand the African diaspora – and its presence on every continent – from a young age.
Devising how the world’s best hotels should sound
With a title like the director of ambience, it’s to be expected that Arman Naféei has a storied background in the luxury sector. Described as a musical taste-maker, he has acted as a musical director for the hotels of André Balazs, including Chateau Marmont, Chiltern Firehouse and the Standard Hotels. Outside of hospitality, he has also helped to define Sonic Identities for brands such as Prada, Moncler and Chanel.
‘Companies in the luxury sector haven’t really milked the impact that music has on brand-building,’ Naféei tells Forbes. ‘It not only influences customers’ behaviour but also makes or breaks the right atmosphere.’ As well as adding musical branding to the toolboxes of designer brands, Naféei has launched the podcast Are We on Air? in which he interviews luxury names such as Rick Owens, Dua Lipa and David LaChapelle about the creative process.
Companies in the luxury sector haven’t milked the impact that music has on brand-building
Designing streetwear for those with disabilities – not around them
A recent graduate of the Fashion Sportswear degree at London College of Fashion, Jake Baker-Cliff has wasted no time in setting up his own fashion label. But rather than creating another brand of vague yet functional streetwear, he has a different vision: designing clothing for people with disabilities. The resulting fashion label, Wecanfly, comprises innovations such as jackets with magnetic sleeves to allow for easier dressing and a BlindAid jacket that uses fabric protection to stop passers-by from fraudulently transacting card payments through the pockets.
Seeing fashion as a form of social activism, Baker-Cliff envisages creating a community for those who are disabled but still interested in fashion. ‘I’m aiming to build a community by giving those with additional needs an opportunity to be involved in fashion like never before, by providing a platform for their voices and creativity. This inspired the name wecanfly,’ he tells Notion. To start, he’s collaborating with musician Koshy Lyngs to develop a clothing collection designed specifically for his cerebral palsy.
Creating a membership community for phygital shopping
An elusive figure on the Web3 scene, 33 is a collector of rare NFTs and currently holds more than 1,000 unique pieces. Yet this anonymous founder is also behind a marketplace of phygital collectibles – both digital NFTs and real items can be shipped to buyers’ doors, linking people’s virtual purchases with their lived realities.
The store is a regularly updated space containing a combination of member-exclusive, and limited-edition collectibles ranging from digital fashion and lifestyle products to cross-platform membership tokens and rare collaborative collectibles, created by some of the 3D industry’s most innovative creators. As a result, 33 is known in the Web3 community for his community-focused membership schemes, which allow aspiring crypto-natives and NFT collectors to get involved in the space via membership tokens that reward long-term followers.
Women make up only 7% of cryptocurrency holders. The divide is getting bigger and bigger
Creating a one-stop-shop for women’s financial education
These sisters are the brains behind Your Juno, a UK-based fintech company they launched in 2020. As a financial education and community platform for women and non-binary people, Your Juno acts as a reference point for anyone who has a question about money – a key aspect of adulthood that is often forgotten about in the mainstream education system.
Described as the ‘Duolingo of finance’, the sisters are using gamification to make the financial experience more playful, which is especially important at a time when only 33% of women see themselves as investors (source: Fidelity). Having both worked in the finance industry, they have first-hand knowledge of this gender gap: ‘[If] you look at cryptocurrency… women only make up 7% of cryptocurrency holders,’ explains Alexia de Broglie. ‘The divide is getting bigger and bigger and it’s really important that we tackle that as soon as possible.’
Investing in the creative potential of Jamaica’s Generation Z
A DJ and producer who splits her time between London and Jamaica, Izzy Steven is the co-founder of Bossy LDN – a women-led platform that hosts music, culture and fashion events. This has made Steven an active figure in the nightlife and youth culture landscape, working with artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, and companies like Gucci and i-D to help promote women’s voices.
Outside the UK, the producer has strong roots in Jamaica and can often be found bridging the two nations. As well as producing music for Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan, Steven runs community organisation Fear-less, which provides young people in Jamaica with tools, support and information to help them break into the creative industries. Being half-Jamaican, Steven ‘saw how much talent and greatness this small island holds’ and wanted to bring the type of opportunities available to Gen Z in London to the Drapers community in the parish of Portland.