Richard ‘Rich Blk’ Mkoloma … is a creative polymath & trouble shooter with an extensive background spanning 20 years providing advisory and design services for the likes of African Fashion International, Adidas Originals, We Are Parable, Hussein Chalayan, Puma, Fila, Michiko Koshino and Sean John to name a few. Tasked with strategic and innovative design, Rich has delivered highly regarded global brand concepts and apparel collections that bridge the gap between fashion, lifestyle and sportswear. The true creative polymath, ‘Rich Blk’ the music artist merges the worlds of Hip Hop, Afro-Electronica and Spoken Word Poetry. His music collaborations include projects by T.Roy/Broadcite, DJ Psykhomantus, Son of Dan (The 3rd Stream) and CDR. His poetry has been published in print; ‘RED: Contemporary Black British Poetry’ anthology (Peepal Press) and ‘IC3: Contemporary Black Writing in Britain’ (Penguin). Rich Blk has hit the stage at the Sabolai Radio Music & the Yoyo Tinz stage (Chale Wote festival) in Accra, Ghana, as well as in New York, Amsterdam and Sydney, Australia. Rich has also performed on various stages in the UK - including Royal Festival Hall, Sadler’s Wells, The Jazz Cafe, ICA and the original Africa Centre to name a few. He has also appeared on Vox Africa, OHTV, Channel 4, BET, BBC Radio 1Xtra and Bang FM. With close ties to contemporary urban culture, Richard has contributed to and spoken at culturally relevant initiatives including The Dandy Lion Project, TedXEuston Salon, ICON Influencer Conference, the Africa Fashion Guide & the African Society at Cambridge University. Additional writing & photographic commissions include Soobax, Africa Fashion Guide, Lets Be Brief, Black British Blacklist and Parlour Magazine and others. Committed to youth development, Rich enjoys working on initiatives that use creative design process and poetry to positively impact and provide skills and training to young people. Projects include facilitating creative writing workshops, producing a youth-authored poetry book and graphic poster series, curated a series of Art Exhibitions. Rich as worked with organisations as diverse as Women’s charity FORWARD, arts/education program ‘Art Rules Aruba’ as well as ROK and universities such as the London College of Fashion and INSEEC.
AFRICAN FASHION INTERNATIONAL (AFI) . Jo’burg, S.Africa . > Head of Design . Created new brand & strategic product proposals for a new start-up luxury African womenswear brand. Art exhibition development and creative concept input for AFI’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2017 marketing and retail activations. URBAN PROFESSOR . London/USA . > NUL / National Urban League . Signature capsule. Creative direction / design of accessories for young professionals including cufflinks, ties, bowties. Pocket squares and Scarves. GOOSE Design Agency . London . > Product Direction and Design projects for - McLaren F1: Motorsports - Premium fan wear. O’Neill : Action sports - Lifestyle casual wear Diadora : Heritage inspired Sport street style. NAPAPIJRI ‘Geographic’ . London/Switzerland . Worked alongside the Merchandising Director to successfully introduce a new refined direction for their men’s ‘Geographic’ cut n’ sew lifestyle collection for their global markets. AVIS CHARLES ASSOCIATES Consultancy . London . Developed new brand concepts and creative direction for new luxe womenswear and accessories projects for various clients based in the USA, UK & the Caribbean. MO SAÏQUE . London . Brand Reset, and development to best position MO SAÏQUE within the luxury footwear market in key target regions of UK, Europe and Africa. ARMADILLO SCOOTERWEAR . London . Product direction and design for a new premium sub-brand inspired by classic Brit heritage for the discerning scooter rider. Outerwear, True Knits and Cut n’ Sew. PUMA : Urban Mobility by Hussein Chalayan . London Product direction and design - Industry defining utility sport-luxe collection that ‘bridges fashion and performance’. Full category offer centred around ‘Transformable’ outerwear statement pieces.
WE ARE PARABLE . “History of Fresh” . London . Curated and immersive series of activations to compliment the UK preview of Streetwear documentary 'Fresh Dressed': > Panel discussion with fashion experts examining the relationship between streetwear and popular culture. > Live DJ video-mixing night & presentation that combined fashion, dance and live fashion photography with an inclusive digital outreach strategy. CREATIVE SKILLSET Diversity Fund > 'Brand and Product Synergy’ Course for creatives. Designed an industry level training course specifically to develop the design fundamentals and processes needed to build an enduring brand narrative coupled with innovative product strategies. FORWARD UK (Women’s rights charity) > YPSO program Conceptualised and facilitated projects that introduced design-led tools to engage young people on the topic of on women's health and social issues. > Curated several gallery exhibitions which included the work of youth advocates, local and international artists. > Conceptualised and produced a book of youth-written poetry & commissioned professional graphic artists to create artworks in response to the work. BAMBOO SWORD: Hip Hop Festival Concept Development : of the initial incarnation of a new global creative/social online destination, created to expand and promote the various facets of Hip Hop music & culture. STIXSON: Sports’ program . UK/Australia Co-developed an ‘empowerment-through-Sports’ program and start-up website for girls that promotes team sports as a catalyst for social and personal improvement. Created with former England Netball Captain, International player and coach (NSW Swifts) and youth care professional, Sonia Mkoloma. The Pancake Gallery Foundation / ART RULES ARUBA . Aruba Fashion Art Director Created and Delivered a multi-disciplinary fashion training course. The participants created design work and made outfits, created the art direction and styling for photoshoots, casted professional models, and worked with photographers. I curated the final fashion show and produces the gallery exhibition - presented to the public, press & government dept.
Adidas Originals : > Design, product direction and development of forward-thinking / heritage-referenced sportswear menswear capsules for global markets aligned to specific footwear franchises and in-season marketing activations. > Key Account design & product direction for sport heritage fashion apparel capsules for JD Sports to tight deadlines. > . Delivered presentation on ‘Design Process’ presentation for the Global Talent Acquisition team’s training summit - the focus being to understand the design process so as to better connect with and source the next generation of designers.
> Puma Golf : Established the hugely successful design aesthetic of Puma’s start-up category; introducing a dynamic lifestyle look & feel to functional sportswear that positively disrupted the traditional styling of golf apparel. >Designed key strategic lifestyle capsules - ‘I Like Puma, Ouninpohja, Seperate Pants, 1000, Urban Mobility 1.0’
Filativa : Managed direct reports & as the creative lead, helped to successfully launch Fila’s new sports inspired lifestyle sub-brand from inception. Responsibilities included the direction and design of men’s and women multi-category collections. Fila Vintage : Design & direction for the re-launch of the brand’s sports heritage-inspired capsule collection.
Yen Jeans (Orange Label) : As the Italian-made denim lifestyle brand’s lead apparel designer - established the menswear creative direction across denim, outerwear, knits, cut n’ sew & leather - managing team members through the creative. Michiko London Koshino (Japanese Licensee) : Menswear product direction & design (apparel, accessories & footwear).
Menswear : Specialised in Tailoring
Womenswear : Specialised in Tailoring
AFRICAN SOCIETY and CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY / UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE award for services to creativity as a person of African descent.