From the moment we’re welcomed inside his multistory home nestled in the hills of Laurel Canyon, it’s clear that our afternoon with stylist and activist Ugo Mozie isn’t going to be an ordinary day on set. Aside from the custom gold armchairs in the foyer and the archival closet that houses his Dior jackets, pearl-and-diamond CHANEL necklaces, and brocade Dries Van Noten suits, it’s Mozie’s warm, infectious energy that has us happily running up and down three flights of stairs throughout our shoot, arms laden with treasures.
“When I first moved to Houston from Los Angeles when I was 12 years old, I realized how different my style was from everybody else,” he says, smiling brightly from his balcony, easily posing in a gauzy shirt of his own design. “I was a lot more liberal, more free, more flashy. From that point on, I made a decision—I can either let my uniqueness be a disadvantage, or I could make it an advantage.” Since his early days as a young fashion influencer at his high school, the Nigerian-born Mozie has grown into one of the most celebrated stylists in the industry—working with everyone from Justin Bieber to Adonis Bosso—but he’s also a tireless activist, working with his non-profit foundation, WANA, to help incubate and promote African talent around the world.
Compared to his peers in the industry, Mozie’s résumé is refreshingly varied, to the point that he’s developed a unique title for the work that he does. “I would call myself a creative manager and fashion activist,” he explains. “I say fashion activist because I’ve done the styling, creative directing, art directing, and costume, but what really fulfills my passion and goes towards my purpose is what I’m doing for the youth that are trying to get into fashion.”
As we continue to discuss everything from the ongoing battle for more inclusivity in fashion to the versatility of a vintage Hermès scarf (he has an impressive collection), it becomes clear that Mozie applies the same level of fervor and thoughtfulness to every aspect of his life. And by the time we begin our winding descent through the hills—still dreaming of his impressive wardrobe—we can only hope that the rest of the fashion community follows in his footsteps sooner rather than later.
Check out the rest of Mozie’s closet below, and learn how he’s working to shine the spotlight on rising talent in Africa, how he got his nickname, Chief, and why you might start considering adidas slides as your new high-fashion essential.