Meet The Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 Art & Style Honorees

From a gender nonconforming comics publisher with a $5 million Kickstarter to a Michelle Obama-loved Black jewelry designer, the next generation of art and style leaders are as powerful as they are diverse.


Matthew Cicanese photographed vipers in Sri Lanka for National Geographic, taught lighting tricks as a Canon USA instructor and started his own consultancy—all as a deaf and blind individual. Hafsah Faizal is the New York Times Bestselling sci-fi author of We Hunt The Flame and We Free The Stars—she’s a traditional Niqab-wearing Muslim woman. And Alton Mason is the first Black male model to walk for Chanel.

These honorees, and the 27 others who made the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Art & Style list, are the new wave of leadership in creativity. They were chosen by fashion designer Tory Burch, supermodel Ashley Graham and artists Kehinde Wiley and Ashley Longshore. “Now more than ever, we need to celebrate creativity and diversity in this country,” says Longshore. “These young, talented powerhouses have blasted the creative scene with authenticity, ambition and brilliance.”

The Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 Art & Style honorees exemplify perseverance and hard choices. Jameel Mohammed, whose jewelry line Khiry is a favorite of Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Halle Berry, got his start manning the phone at Gepetto’s Pizza in Oak Park, Illinois. Joseph Stillwell, who is non-binary, dropped out of Austin Community College because they found it “incredibly boring” to start creator-owned graphic novel publishing house Hivework Comics. Today, the company has raised over $5 million on Kickstarter and works with over 300 artists.

For many of the fashion founders on the list, smart uses of social media have elevated their brands. Take Boys Lie, named for cofounder Leah O’Malley and Tori Robinson’s relationship woes, which has become a multimillion-dollar brand through influencer marketing; the two send t-shirts and hoodies with sassy phrases to people like Ariana Grande, Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa, who have all been photographed in the brand. Or ‘90s nostalgia streetwear label By Samii Ryan, which is on track to make $4 million this year through partnerships with Nordstrom, Zumiez, Care Bears and others. Founder Samantha Franz started as an Etsy brand, hot-gluing headbands and ear clips. To spread the word, the then-aspiring dental hygienist became a vendor at the Vans Warped Tour, Bamboozle and Bonnaroo. When Nordstrom emailed her to carry her wares in 40 U.S. stores, she dropped out of college to build her brand.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Art & Style honorees are capturing the resilience, beauty and matter of Black lives in their work. Painter Chase Hall neither attended college nor art school; instead, he became an artist by rendering the Black people he encountered on New York City streets, according to SSense. Today, his paintings of Black resilience belong in the permanent collections at the Institute of Contemporary Art and Rubell Museum, both in Miami, Florida, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Then there’s 23-year-old photographer Faith Couch who intends

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Meet The Women Who Could Become America’s First Female Secretary Of Defense Under Biden

Four different people have served as Defense Secretary in less than four years under Trump, and the recent termination of Mark Esper during a critical transition period places the secretary of defense position and in effect, the United States, in a somewhat vulnerable place. With the presidential inauguration a mere 58 days away and president-elect Joe Biden’s indication that key Cabinet roles will be announced in the near future, looking to the top contenders is this season’s political roadmap to clarity in what is to come. 

Laying out plans for a strong defense strategy and continuing or reversing Trump policies as to the U.S. military will be an early and critical test of Biden’s promises and deliveries. Two of the frontrunners for defense secretary are women. If Biden appoints one of them, she would be the first woman in the office’s 74-year history to hold the position. 

Michele Flournoy

Michele Flournoy, considered a frontrunner candidate, served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012 where she managed nearly 1,000 people. Prior to that she worked on national security issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a second principal deputy in the defense department during Clinton’s second term, for which her responsibilities included covering Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

A Harvard and Oxford graduate, Flournoy’s views on international affairs may be what Biden is looking for, but her recent experience as head of WestExec Advisors, where she deals with Fortune 100 companies may not put her in the best light with progressives.

One of the earlier agenda items in 2021 will be handling of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump’s administration will likely cut troops down from 4,500 to 2,500 by January 15. This so far sounds consistent with Biden’s plans since he has indicated he wants to keep a few thousand soldiers in Afghanistan to maintain a small but effective counterterrorism force. If the 2018 agreement between the U.S. and the Talibans stating that all forces will leave the country by Spring 2021 is enforced, then the number will shrink even more. Flournoy, however, has previously taken the opposite stance, supporting an increase in troops abroad. During the Obama administration, she supported adding up to 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, which Biden opposed. 

Flournoy shares Biden’s views as to the escalating threat that China poses, making her a likely pick. She wrote about how China’s rise as a competitor in technological areas will determine military advantage while underscoring her disapproval of how the U.S. is currently handling

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Meet The Danish Entrepreneur Selling Used Cycle Clothing Worn By Professional Riders

There was a lot of leftover Lycra when, in March 2019, British billionaire Sir James Ratcliffe bought the Team Sky cycling franchise and renamed the professional squad after his petrochemicals group Ineos.

There was another glut of obsolete cycling kit earlier this year when Team Ineos transformed into Team Ineos Grenadiers to align with Ratcliffe’s newbuild SUV, which goes into production next year.

With 29 professional riders on the Team Ineos Grenadiers payroll—the company behind the team reported a turnover of €51 million in 2019, which makes it double the size of its next biggest rival—that’s twice in short order that a whole bunch of team-branded jerseys, cycling shorts, and gilets became passé overnight.

What do professional cycling teams do with all this high-end but suddenly out-of-date kit? Many now sell it to ProOwnedCycling, a Danish startup that, in effect, recycles cycle clothing; cycle clothing either worn by pro riders or supplied to them and never worn.

“Some of the teams used to have end-of-season sales, but they are not set up for when a customer later needs to change an M for an L, or somebody needs a refund,” said Oscar Bjørn-Rosager who started ProOwnedCycling in partnership with Danish rider Casper Pedersen in 2015. (Pedersen left the business to turn professional—in October, the Team Sunweb rider won the 114th edition of the Paris–Tours cycling classic.)

“Others give the clothing to staff, but then it’s just more clothing lying in a pile at home, probably unused,” said 23-year-old Bjørn-Rosager.

“Staff can no longer be seen in public with it because it’s dated kit.”

Performance

ProOwnedCycling sells used, nearly-new and unopened clothing from many of the world’s best-known cycling teams. An unworn 2019 long-sleeved Team Ineos cycling jersey from noted Italian manufacturer Castelli costs much less than in the shops—but it’s last year’s colors and doesn’t sport the SUV-brand logo.

It might not have been in the shops at all. Most of the clothing available on ProOwnedCycling.com is team-issue equipment, not consumer-level replica kit, which is often dumbed-down.

This is good for those wanting the very best in performance gear—so long as you are not fussed about latest logos or current colors—but there’s a catch: you have to have the body of a pro. Think skinny.

“Many amateur riders wouldn’t fit in this clothing,” admitted Bjørn-Rosager.

“This is not replica clothing—this is kit designed for the best athletes in the world, often custom-made to fit a rider.”

ProOwnedCycling.com features painfully truthful sizing charts and has videos talking customers through the often limited sizing choices—pros wear their kit tight so even tall riders may wear what appear to be child-sized jerseys.

On the portly side and still want to ride in pro-level kit? ProOwnedCycling stocks clothing that isn’t so tight and tiny, such as shoe covers, arm warmers and helmets.

“Some teams also make clothing for support staff who ride, so we sometimes stock XL and XXL kits,” offered Bjørn-Rosager,

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