Featured Story By: Miguel Cortes

Presented by: Juan Rojas


In the ever-evolving world of fashion, there are visionaries who transcend the ordinary, standing head and shoulders above the rest. The trail-blazing fashion leaders of 2023 have redefined the boundaries of style, breathing new life into an industry constantly hungry for innovation and fresh perspectives. With their unparalleled creativity and audacious ideas, they have captivated audiences and left us awestruck, redefining what it means to make a sartorial statement. In this exclusive listicle, ELLE Canada brings you the extraordinary journeys of the Top Five Fashion Leaders of 2023, with their avant-garde aesthetics, fearless experimentation and awe-inspiring ingenuity. Get ready to be inspired as these artists shape the future of the fashion industry with visionary creations that transcend the boundaries of conventional style.

Los Angeles-based beauty Susie Stellar is known for creating looks as unique as her evolving path to success in the digital landscape. Despite living in L.A., a fashion hub known for its trend-chasing, Stellar has remained true to her unique style—authentic and a bit quirky. Her creations feature minimalist art that reflects her belief in the importance of intention and meaning behind fashion.

Growing up with hand-me-downs, Stellar learned to be creative and resourceful with fashion. However, during her formative years, her peers often judged her choices. Rather than succumbing to peer pressure, Stellar embraced her outsider image. Being teased through college and even now in L.A. for her “brand blindness” inspired her to stay true to her style and not buy pieces for the status but for how it makes her feel when she wears them.

“Someone can be fashionable but have no style. I get the most compliments in thrift finds that cost less than my morning beverage at Moon Juice,” she says with a laugh. This kind of feedback shaped her perspective and fuelled her passion for fashion that’s accessible and meaningful rather than simply brand-driven.

Now, Stellar is more than just a name in the fashion world. She is a beacon of authenticity in an industry often characterized by conformity. She’s a role model for those who dare to be different and a champion for fashion that truly reflects the individual. You can see her playful outfits on her podcast, “Online Forever,” which she creates with her co-host and fellow cybermodel, Sidney Summers.

Layana Aguilar, who was born and raised in a small town in Brazil, is a renowned fashion designer, entrepreneur and creative force. Her journey to success is a testament to her resilience, determination and unyielding spirit.

Early on, Aguilar exhibited a natural affinity for fashion and design. Cutting and customizing clothes became her creative outlet, allowing her to express her unique vision and desire to stand out. When she was 17, everything changed. The vibrant energy of New York City beckoned to her, and Aguilar embarked on a journey to transform her dream into reality, eventually gaining admission to NYC’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

During her time at FIT, Aguilar blossomed into the person she was destined to become. Surrounded by like-minded individuals, she thrived in the vibrant fashion scene, revelling in every opportunity that came her way. Her breakthrough was Project Runway. Her undeniable talent and creative prowess propelled her to new heights, solidifying her reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry.

Aguilar’s interests developed to also empower others in addition to building a global brand. Her crowning achievement, The Fashion Squad School, stands as a testament to her unwavering commitment to nurturing creativity, inspiring others and making a lasting impact on young lives. She envisions expanding The Fashion Squad School into a franchise, bringing its innovative approach to fashion education to aspiring designers around the world, and aims to leverage her platform to create non-profits that improve the lives of children globally.

In the ever-evolving fashion industry, Mike Cooke, the founder of Sterling Forever, is a true leader.

Cooke entered the jewellery business at 16 when he sold his mom’s old Tiffany jewellery on eBay. He reinvested that money into his business, and eventually that became Sterling Forever. Since its establishment in 2015, Sterling Forever has become synonymous with timeless elegance, impeccable craftsmanship and outstanding quality.

Cooke’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in every delicate necklace, statement earring, exquisite bracelet and captivating ring his brand produces. The result is a collection that exudes grace and allure, appealing to discerning fashion-forward individuals, including prominent figures in the entertainment industry. A number of Hollywood celebrities—including Kelly Clarkson, Sarah Drew and Melissa McCarthy—have embraced Sterling Forever, often choosing the brand’s stunning pieces for red-carpet events and high-profile appearances.

Sterling Forever also garnered the attention of Oprah Winfrey herself—its advent calendar was one of Oprah’s Favorite Things for the 2022 holiday season.

Yet Cooke’s influence goes beyond his extraordinary designs. He is a vocal advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry, spearheading initiatives for ethical sourcing and responsible production practices. Sterling Forever sets an example for others, proving that fashion can be both glamorous and environmentally conscious.

Through mentorship programs and speaking engagements, Cooke shares his expertise and inspires the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs. His infectious energy and unwavering commitment to excellence set him apart as a visionary leader in the industry.

Jason Tavares, celebrity hairstylist and television personality, was trained at the L’Oréal Paris headquarters and has spent his career working in luxury salons. He has worked with some of the biggest names, including Tina Knowles, Princess Love, Cynthia Bailey and A. J. Johnson.

Tavares’ experience as a multicultural hairstylist set him apart from other stylists early on. He noticed a void in the hair-care market, which led him to found B Cavi, a luxury-hair-care line that uses super-ingredient black caviar.

B Cavi is not just a product line—it’s the embodiment of inclusive luxury. The key ingredient—a serum infused with black caviar, which is a rich source of vitamins and omega-3 and -6—offers extensive benefits for all hair textures. The fast-absorbing formula penetrates the hair, reduces frizz and provides heat protection. Its effects have been lauded by clients who have experienced significant improvements in their hair.

Beyond his celebrated career in hair and beauty, Tavares’ role in reality television amplifies his influence. As a TV personality, he is the manifestation of B Cavi, radiating its luxury and empowerment. His journey from Plymouth, Mass., to Hollywood serves as an inspiration.

Tavares’ steadfast confidence foreshadows a promising future. His innovative products and his commitment to individualized care are transforming industry standards. His expertise in the hair and beauty spaces has garnered the attention of media outlets such as Bravo, Thrillist and LA Weekly as the arbiter of all things hair and beauty.

Natalie Rose is an up-and-coming digital content creator with roots in art and a deep interest in fashion. Ever since she was young, Rose has dreamt of designing clothing. She fueled those dreams with the images she saw and pasted along her room from magazines like Vogue, Seventeen, and of course, Elle.

Rose’s interests shifted as she was growing up, though. She contemplated studying engineering for a hot minute, but the artistic streak in her prevailed; she ended up double-majoring in art and art history with a view to doing archival work. Before her internet fame, she worked as an oil painter for 12 years.

Today, Rose successfully marries her early love of fashion and her skills in artistic expression. She’s also grown a sizeable social-media presence and has recently hit the 100,000-followers mark on Instagram. Her future plans involve popularizing her Gothic-inspired clothing brand, RoseStone Hessling, and expanding her reach into grunge music.

Rose draws inspiration from the sharp Gothic designs of Balenciaga while also appreciating fast-fashion brands like Shein, noting how “accessibility is its own medium.” As she looks ahead, Rose aims to launch a fashion brand under her name in the next five years. We can see that this is only the first of many headlines for the young entrepreneur, and we’re excited to see where her career takes her next. Undefined. Dark. Reality.

KO Media newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.