Seven artists and designers from RISD are recognized in the annual roundup of young entrepreneurs.
RISD Alums Make 30 Under 30 List
Forbes Magazine just released its 2021 30 Under 30 list of young entrepreneurs, activists, athletes, scientists, artists, designers and entertainers making waves around the world, and RISD alumni are once again among the honorees. The panel of judges selected four RISD graduates this year, bringing the college’s 10-year running total to 45. Illustration major Yelitsa Jean-Charles 16 IL and industrial designer Brandon Kim MID 18 were both included in the Retail & E-Commerce category, while children’s book author Oge Mora 16 IL and fashion designer Jamall Osterholm 17 AP made the Art & Style list.
Haitian-American entrepreneur Yelitsa Jean-Charles began developing her Healthy Roots Dolls while she was still a student at RISD, redesigning the omnipresent blond princess doll as a Black girl with curly, natural hair. “Every girl should feel empowered by the beauty of the kink of her curl and the color of her skin,” she says. She raised funding through Kickstarter, Backstage Capital and Venture for America, officially launched in 2019 and was delighted to see her first doll, Zoé, become an internet sensation last summer.
Entrepreneurial designer Brandon Kim co-founded his direct-to-consumer backpack company, Brevitē (pronounced brevity), with his brothers Dylan and Elliot. They began with high-quality bags specifically designed to hold cameras and related accessories and have since moved on to offer a wider range of styles. The trio’s values—supporting each other’s creativity, leading by example and treating everyone fairly—serve as cornerstones of their company’s mission.
Author/illustrator Oge Mora was lauded for her children’s books featuring uplifting stories and breathtaking collages. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Mora uses a colorful palette, and her first book—Thank You, Omu! (Little, Brown, 2018)—was inspired by her grandmother. It earned a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award and an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award and was named a Notable Book by The New York Times.
Providence-based menswear designer Jamall Osterholm (who got his start as a designer in RISD’s Project Open Door program for underserved youth) was commended for his stunning, futuristic apparel inspired by his experiences as a Black, queer person. Osterholm has shown his work at New York Fashion Week, was a contestant on Bravo TV’s Project Runway in 2019 and currently works for Kerby Jean-Raymond’s Pyer Moss label. He sees fashion as an art form and has always strived to “make clothing without losing the integrity of [his] concept.”
December 3, 2020