Introducing the WGSN Future Makers: Raeesa Brey

The Future Makers Mentorship Programme

On July 9, we shared what would be the start of the first ever WGSN mentorship programme, the Future Makers. Our aim is to support individuals from underserved and underrepresented communities at different stages in their careers to develop themselves professionally, giving them an opportunity no matter where they come from, the colour of their skin, the country they were born in, what they look like or what barriers they face.

The six-month mentorship programme, which was initially open to 10 mentees from around the world, was a humbling experience for us: more than 1058 entries from around the world, with the most engaging and empowering stories. We’ve heard the most amazing stories and, as a result, have been inspired to select not just 10, but 26 mentees who were matched up with mentors from across WGSN – from sales to design, content and HR – for the programme.

Introducing the WGSN Future Makers: Raeesa Brey

Over the next few weeks, we’re proud to introduce the first group of WGSN Future Makers. First up, Raeesa Brey, a fashion designer and trend analyst based in Cape Town, South Africa. 

To start with, we’d love to get to know you a bit more. What drives you?

Curiosity drives me. I am constantly researching new topics of interest and figuring out how they fit into the bigger picture. I often find that it influences my design and trend information in a positive way as it allows me to see a broader perspective of the world, outside of the stereotypical fashion echo chamber.

What is your biggest inspiration when creating?

I’m inspired by the challenge of creating new items for a consumer who has longevity in mind and who is willing to invest in items. In that sense, I admire Raf Simons’ work, which makes a statement while remaining timeless and wearable. He has remained thoughtful even when he went through challenging experiences.

Tinker Hatfield’s ability to problem solve in the form of sneakers is also phenomenal. He manages to push the boundaries with innovation while staying true to Nike’s brand DNA, which requires both bravery to pitch bold designs as well as a deep sense of empathy to understand what the consumer will want next.

Lastly, I admire Eva Chen’s ability to have pivoted from a magazine editor to being the head of fashion partnerships at Instagram. She swiftly brought heritage brands into the social sphere when they had negated it for years. I also admire the nonchalant manner in which Eva communicates with her audience as well as her being a ‘real’ mother who has flaws instead of portraying an unattainable facade.

Where does your interest in design come from?

My interest in design stemmed from discovering that fashion could be both practical and considered pieces of art. When researching this further, I realised that commercial design had the opportunity to assist people on a mass scale. It is a privilege for someone to wear and live in your designs while reflecting a part of their own identity. In that sense, I define my design style as thoughtful, practical and functional.

How do you think the fashion industry can make a difference?

The industry as a whole can make a commitment to using responsible materials that will ease the pressure on the depleting environment. It can also create adaptable and inclusive design that can be worn by all consumers, including those living with disabilities.

Looking ahead, whats your dream job?

My dream job would be to consult international brands on future trends and to help tailor how the future would look for their company. I would love to lead and mentor a team to achieve this.

Raeesa is mentored by Sarah Owen, our Senior Strategist at WGSN Insight, based in Lisbon, Portugal, who leads a team dedicated to helping our clients understand digital trends, youth culture and marketing strategies.

Keep your eyes peeled as we reveal more WGSN Future Makers over the coming weeks, here on WGSN Insider.

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