Cover Photo by BJ Pascual

Proving that the world of fashion lives in reality, the global style star speaks loud against war

In between a clip of him posing in an animal-print trench coat surrounded by starry-eyed fans and a meme featuring a pregnant Rihanna poking fun at punctuality, international fashion darling Bryanboy Yambao—better known as Bryanboy—has declared his support for Ukraine, proving that the glamourous world he inhabits also exists within the bounds of reality.

The social media star (2.9 million on TikTok) echoes (and reposts) the thoughts of another bright light in fashion, Susie Lau, aka susiebubble, who wrote in an Instagram post: “The fashion community aren’t ‘moronic’ or ‘tone deaf’. We are all talking about it, sharing news stories on WhatsApp, confronting the surreal situation we are in.” 

And so, in a flurry of Instagram Stories, which began some 18 hours ago, Bryanboy is speaking out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its threat of using nuclear weapons. He doesn’t shy away from the most shocking events unfolding in the country, sharing news about bombings in Mariupol and attacks on African, South Asian, and Middle Eastern refugees

Bryanboy highlights, too, how the fashion industry is responding to the crisis, lauding brands like Balenciaga (“Finally a brand makes its stance public”) and Valentino and luxury conglomerate LVMH, all of which are making donations to the UN World Food Programme, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, respectively. And if you are inclined to make donations yourself, he directs you—along with his 684,000 Instagram followers—to aid organizations selected by The New York Times and this important tip from the media giant: to specify that your donation is intended for Ukraine.

Some may find it strange for a front-row fixture to be outspoken about war, but this is not out of character for Bryanboy. His path to success was due largely to his honest (and entertaining and sometimes outrageous) approach to blogging, which he has been doing since 2004, a time even before Facebook. While some project only the beautiful life, he has always chosen to reflect reality. One of his earliest posts about Ukraine highlighted a question raised by Business of Fashion: “…Speak Up or Stay Silent?” Bryanboy makes it clear what he wants to do.

Bryanboy Yambao is a 2021 Tatler Asia's Most Influential honouree.

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