default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

The BoF Podcast: Adut Akech: ‘I Will Always Be a Refugee’

From living in a Kenyan refugee camp to travelling the globe as an international top model, the industry’s name to watch reveals her journey.
Tim Blanks and Adut Akech on stage at BoF's VOICES | Source: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — South Sudanese model Adut Akech is one of the industry’s fast-rising stars. She has appeared on the covers of a plethora of international magazines and walked for some of the biggest names in luxury, from Chanel to Dior to Prada. In fact, she arrived onstage at VOICES, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers, fresh off a plane from Tokyo where she closed Valentino’s pre-fall 2019 extravaganza alongside Kaia Gerber in a couture-like frothy red gown.

But Akech grew up worlds away from the glitz and glamour of couture gowns and Vogue cover shoots. The 5'10" model was born while her family was fleeing from war in South Sudan, and spent her early years in a Kenyan refugee camp.

"I will always be a refugee, because that's who I am," she told BoF's Tim Blanks. "No amount of money or my status or how famous or whatever the case is ... I'm always going to be a refugee and I'm proud of who I am."

When Akech was just six years old, she and her family relocated to Australia. She was excited to attend school, something she wasn’t able to do while living in Kenya.

Her first experience modelling was taking part in a small-scale fashion show put on by her aunt, a designer. That was the moment she knew she wanted to model professionally.

“I just fell in love instantly," she said. "When I’m on the runway, I’m a whole different person."

To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.

Subscribe to BoF Professional for unlimited access to BoF articles, plus exclusive benefits for members.

To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

© 2022 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from News & Analysis
Fashion News, Analysis and Business Intelligence from the leading digital authority on the global fashion industry.

The 10 themes in The State of Fashion 2023, the authoritative annual report from The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company, highlight how businesses can deploy realistic yet bold strategies to drive growth, even amid challenging times.




Tim Blanks sits down with Ziad Ahmed, chief executive of JUV Consulting and Stephanie Simon, the former head of community at Clubhouse to reflect on VOICES.


view more

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
How to Build a Profitable DTC Brand
© 2023 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.
How to Build a Profitable DTC Brand