Kesshia: Who’s That Girl?
Artist: Kesshia

You may have seen her about town, danced as she DJ’d, read her blog and various magazine interviews, befriended her on MySpace, and maybe even worn one of her garms. So who is this well-connected girl about town that people are so interested in? Emmanuel ‘BoyWonder’ Ezugwu talks to Kesshia about her quiet invasion into our consciousness. Image by James Pearson-Howes

If London was to have anything close to a belle de jour, it would no doubt be 21year-old Kesshia (pronounced Ke-sscha) or Kesh as she is known to the 52,400 legion of friends on MySpace and the 40,000 views or so readers of her blog (and climbing).
So far, without the aid of an agent or PR, this self-managed creative has styled the likes of Dizzee Rascal and A-Trak (Kanye West‘s official DJ and super-cool producer) and designed T’s for T.I. and Lupe Fiasco. The east Londoner has also modelled for designer Katherine Hamnett and Basso and Brooke at London Fashion Week and for Nike in Milan, and had a stint as fashion editor for SuperSuper magazine. Oh, and she’s been profiled in Vogue, i-D, the Independent, and of course has been a familiar face in RWD for some time too. If that wasn’t more than enough, Al Gore’s Current TV even made a documentary about her.

Following her custom-made t-shirt range known as the ‘Keshirt’ (geddit!), Kesh has become the toast of the young, gifted and new fashion scene in an astronomically short space of time. In the process she has gathered a list of friends, fans and acquaintances that make the Yellow Pages look like a Domino’s flyer. Appearing onstage with her mate MIA or hanging with hip hop superstars is all in a days work, it seems. “I was in New York and Kanye West came up to me and said ‘Keish,’ and I was like, ’It’s Kesh!’ I didn’t mean to be rude, but it just came out,” she laughs. “Anyway, he said, ‘I saw you were in New York on your MySpace,’ so we got chatting.”

The encounter led to her joining the Louis Vuitton Don in the studio where he was working with Mos Def on the Graduation track Drunk And Hot Girls. West eagerly modelled her Keshwear tee, so joining the likes of Lupe, Mariah Carey, Big Daddy Kane and Jammer, who are all fans of Kesshia’s work. However, the stylist/ designer/ DJ, who owes her exotic looks to her Malaysian father and Trinidadian mother, could care less about celebs rocking her clothes. “They get given so much free sh*t that it doesn’t mean anything to them,” she says. “One of my t-shirts is so precious to me and others spend their hard-earned money to buy it. When I send it out to them, they’re so proud that they send pictures. That’s what I get my real kick out of.”

The last time the 21 year-old appeared in our mag was alongside best friend and Coconut Twins DJ partner Zezi. Back then, they were part of nu-rave singer Namalee’s ultra glam, super funky and uniquely stylised Namazons. So what happened? “Namalee used to be our boss when we worked at SuperSuper and it was more of a favour,” she says. “We weren’t part of the band and never recorded any vocals. We wanted to show support in some way, but then it became too much and we were just too busy with our DJing. We later left the magazine, though there’s no hard feelings.”

The root of Kesshia’s success is no doubt to do with her originality. While everyone seems to be running with the pack belatedly wearing rope chains, door-knocker earrings and other ‘80s type apparel, Kesh is one of the original throwback adopters and has been known for her unique fashion sense for several years. “It was scary because the first day I went to enroll in college there was so my people there and everyone was staring,“ she remembers with disarming vulnerability. “I was wearing black, cut-off tights, pink leg warmers, white loafers, a back to front stone wash denim skirt, a t-shirt that I had dashed on, a pink jacket and a black hoody underneath. Still fairly coordinated, but it had that whole ‘80s vibe to it. Everyone else was wearing tracksuits and Nike Huaraches and all that. Some people were nice, but some of the girls were really mean,” she says of her time at Southgate College.

Kesh still seems stumped by her post-A level popularity and finds it even more difficult to define her style, other than it being “pretty random.” However while she may not be good at talking about it, she sure is good at bottling her success.

With a possible move to New York on the cards and plans to produce a full Keshwear clothing range, the sky is the limit for this ambitious teen. But back to her surreal encounter with Kanye West. “I was never a real big fan before, but he’s such a brilliant artist, he really has love for the music. He’s the real deal,” she says of the teddy bear loving lyricist. In a way their stories are very similar in that no one took them seriously to start off, they have their own sense of style, plus they were both in near-fatal car accidents (his: breaking his jaw, hers: breaking her nose). “No, I don’t think I’m on his level,” she says of the similarity. “Nowhere near... but maybe someday I will.”


06 Dec 2007, 13:37
i said this girl would be big...she is getting her shine now
06 Dec 2007, 18:15
who's dat man more like
killer rez
08 Dec 2007, 04:08
yeah i noticed her name here and dere, she's doing it big
23 Mar 2008, 20:57
LOL WHO WOULD EVE WANNE WEAR THAT PICE OF CRAP SHIRT looks so cheap and easy anyone can draw a face like that come on we need something over the moon something that aint easy mind you people call this talented bullocks i dont see it anyways and i have seen kesh collection made in 10 day my god that girl aint got taste anyone that know how to saw simple garment cant do the stuff she made shame that people call her stuff hot really shame while there are better and more talented people then that girl her stuff i wont call talent but easy made and am not a hater god bless her she is a pretty girl but her work just aint pretty and people need to wake up cuss its just gettin ridiculous she should stick to her modeling and dj fashion just aint working well with her only people with fucked up taste would like it shit weird stuff
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