From the 27-year-old creative director of Ferragamo to the “magicineer” bringing cocktail elixirs to life, here are the young game-changers reshaping fashion, food and the arts.
By Kristin Stoller, Isabel Lord and Nicola Slawson
When Isabella Weatherby, 28, started her clothing line Peachy Den in 2019, she had practically no fashion experience. (She studied politics and international relations in college.) But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion. The brand started as a side hustle, with her shipping orders during lunch breaks from her full-time job; four years later, it’s grown a cult following for its regular drops of trendy, season-less staples—she says a restock of its Mimi cargo pant generated $160,000 in sales in just 24 hours—as well as support from fashion insiders like Andrew Rosen, the cofounder of Theory, and a customer base of nearly 50,000 (including Olivia Rodrigo and Bella Hadid).
“I’ve always been inspired by what I felt was missing from my own wardrobe,” Weatherby says. “I’ve never really looked to the industry for inspiration, and we’ve never worked in terms of the classic fashion structure or seasons. Rather, I look to the women around me for inspiration.”
Weatherby is just one of the creatives honored on this year’s 30 Under 30 Europe: Art & Culture list. Hailing from Spain to Sweden, these pioneering artists and entrepreneurs scored top marks from four industry-leading judges: art dealer Eva Presenhuber; chef (and Under 30 Class of 2022 alum) Mory Sacko, who helms the Michelin-starred Paris restaurant MoSuke; gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin; and creative director Sarah Andelman, who cofounded the legendary concept fashion store Colette. To be considered for this year’s list, all candidates had to be 29 or younger as of March 7, 2023, and never before named to a 30 Under 30 list.
The resulting list-makers span the worlds of art, fashion, design, literature and food—but they’re not afraid to redefine the industries they call home. Cornelius Schmitt, 27, is working to level the footwear field: His 3D-printing machines, which he started building in his college dorm in Germany seven years ago, have been designed to allow anyone with a laptop to create and print their own shoes, a process that usually requires hundreds thousands of dollars. Even companies with the money to spare have taken note: Schmitt’s business, Zellerfeld, has worked with household luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Moncler—and secured $18 million in funding from investors including Peter Thiel-backed Founders Fund.
Twenty-nine-year-old Kerala-born designer Harikrishnan Keezhathil Surendran Pillai, who goes by Harri, is also blowing up the fashion industry—literally. His latex inflatable pants have taken social media by storm since they debuted at his London College of Fashion graduate show in 2020. The custom-made pieces—which range from $1,000 to $5,000—have a growing celebrity fanbase, with Sam Smith wearing them to the BRIT Awards in 2023, and they have been featured in Vogue, BBC and Business of Fashion.
Harri isn’t the only lister shaping pop-culture conversations. Nonbinary author and illustrator Alice Oseman, 28, printed their graphic novel series, Heartstopper, in 2018 after a wildly successful kickstarter campaign (they raised seven times their $10,000 goal) and have been making headlines since. The queer teen love story has sold six million copies and its Netflix adaptation, which Oseman wrote and produced, became one of the streaming giant’s top ten most-watched English-language series when it was released in 2022. Oseman, who published their first novel at 19, has released 55 editions (or IBSNs) of their work over the past nine years—and generated nearly $12 million in sales.
In the hospitality world, David Duckworth, 29, cofounded The Cauldron Co. to bring other worlds to life—specifically, science fiction and fantasy worlds. Through their “magiceneering” studio, The Cauldron Co. invents recipes for potions and develops technology for working magic wands that they then incorporate into the six immersive wizard-themed bars and restaurants they have around the U.S. and U.K.
Matthew Leong, 28, moved some 6,000 miles away from his home country of Singapore to bring new flavors to two-Michelin starred RE-NAA in Norway as head chef. He joined the restaurant after competing in the 2021 world chef championships, Bocus d’Or, as Singapore’s youngest representative. (He was ranked 12th in the world.) Since starting his position at RE-NAA, he’s led the restaurant to be named the best in Norway by one of the country’s largest newspapers and helped grow its revenue by 15%, to more than $4 million, in 2022.
Still others are putting their stamp on classical institutions. Sierra Leonean-Lebanese ballpoint pen artist Habib Hajallie, 27, is one of the youngest members of the Royal Society of British Artists and an artist-in-residence at the UAL Decolonising Arts Institute for his detailed portraits that challenge Britishness and colonialism. His partnership with UAL will add his work to 20 permanent collections in galleries across the U.K. by the end of the year.
And 27-year-old Manchester-born fashion designer Maximilian Davis started his namesake brand, Maximilian, in 2020 inspired by elegance and his Trinidadian-Jamaican heritage. Within two years, the brand had celebrity fans including Rihanna and Dua Lipa and was up for the LVMH Prize—but he put it all on hold to bring his vision to an Italian institution 68 years his senior: Davis became creative director of the $3 billion market cap luxury label Ferragamo, the label of choice for Old Hollywood celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, in 2022, where he’s breathing new life into old classics.
This year’s list was edited by Kristin Stoller, Isabel Lord and Nicola Slawson. For a link to our complete 2023 30 Under 30 Europe Art & Culture list, click here, and for full 2023 30 Under 30 Europe coverage, click here.