Why Valentino’s New Brand Partner is a Gen Z Kenyan Comedian

The Italian couture house may be known for its celebrity-driven campaigns featuring actors like Zendaya, but the selection of its newest partner, 19-year-old internet star Elsa Majimbo, signals the brand’s commitment to finding new faces to help tell its story. Valentino partnered with Majimbo on both a campaign and to co-produce a book called “The Alphabet for Kids & Adults.” The book will not be for sale.

Majimbo has become somewhat of an overnight success, amassing more than two million Instagram followers over the last year, as her comedic videos went viral and attracted the attention of celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and earned her recognition in Western media outlets like W Magazine and Teen Vogue. Majimbo has also appeared in campaigns for Fenty and MAC Cosmetics.

Meanwhile, luxury brands have dedicated more resources over the last year to working with and supporting artists and creatives outside of fashion — namely as a way to deepen engagement with consumers at a time when fashion was perhaps not top-of-mind. Chanel recently launched its first-ever “Next Prize” fund, a $1 million initiative for international artists, while Gucci launched a Changemakers Scholarship in 2020. Valentino, for its part, has produced other literary projects and campaigns, including the WritersRoadMap mentorship program with novelist Tomi Adeyemi and the Collezione Milano campaign with authors including Ocean Vuong.

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