From the Editor: The Best of ASPIRE in 2021

Happy New Year!!!!

May 2022 grant us all the best of life and its blessings!

You might be right to say that it’s too late in the year for new year greetings, but then again…just one more from a brand you love should not be too much, right?

2021 was definitely an interesting year! We all went into it with boundless expectations and tonnes of enthusiasm. Maybe it was because we were all grateful to be alive having escaped mortality from Covid 19, or was it because we all had a renewed awareness of what was truly important in life and therefore had more zeal for life and living?

Image depicting 2000 against a blue and gold background
To start the new year, we look back on some of our top stories from 2021. Image courtesy of Hillsborough County

Whatever it was for you, it was especially interesting for us at ASPIRE. We worked with great brands who were all committed to delivering the best customer experiences while the luxury industry in Africa and across the world began to pick up with amazing campaigns, and as always we featured some pretty cool people from all walks of life.

Opening up our top stories for 2021 was one of the brands that made our list of beautiful, thoughtful gifts for Valentine’s – The Orishiriri Cookbook by Tola Akerele, a rich compilation of Nigerian dishes and recipes that is a sure lifesaver on days when you are not sure of what to prepare.

The Orishirishi Cookbook by Tola Akerele
The Orishirishi Cookbook by Tola Akerele opens up our top stories for 2021. Image courtesy of Orishirishi Kitchen

We followed this special feature with the ASPIRE Ones to Watch for the year. We don’t believe you missed it, but in case you did, just click on the link to find out who made the cut.

PS: We are planning something extra special for Valentine’s this year, so make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter and are following our social media handles to be in the loop!

Ain Dubai will be an attration to visit once it is completed
Ain Dubai will be the world’s tallest observation wheel upon completion

Next up was our compilation of 12 Dubai attractions that were slated to launch last year. Still undecided on where to vacation with the family this year? The article may provide useful recommendations.


Counterfeiting of luxury goods has always been a problem, which is why the news that LVMH, Cartier and Prada had joined forces on Blockchain to fight this practice was another top story for 2021.

And days later, we published our first book review of the year. The book in question? Bringing up Race by Uju Asika.

Bringing Up Race by Uju Asika is an anthology of the BAME experience, a resource and a guide on how to be less racist while you raise non-prejudiced children
Bringing Up Race by Uju Asika is an anthology of the BAME experience, a resource and a guide on how to be less racist while you raise non-prejudiced children.

Our top story for June was Bentley’s announcement that it had teamed up with Lifescore to introduce an adaptive music feature in its electric vehicles. The first Bentley EV is scheduled to come out in 2025, and if you’ve ever wanted to own one, now is a good time to start working towards it.

I fell into your shadow artwork from the Escape to within collection by Bunmi Agusto
I fell into your shadow. Image courtesy of Bunmi Agusto

Nigerian-born Bunmi Agusto had her first solo exhibition in July, and we had a sit-down with her to discuss her journey into the world of art as well as the exhibition.


September’s top stories started with an expose on Winston leather, a Nigerian leather and fashion accessories brand that has its eyes on global domination.

It was followed by the findings of a luxury investment report from Knight Frank on the most valuable alternative luxury assets for the year (Hint: it isn’t what you think!) and ended with Veuve Cliquot’s Bold Conversations that held for the first time in Lagos. Although the discussions centred around the female gender, the lessons gleaned are useful for anyone navigating the corporate world today.

Panelists at the Bold Conversations by Veuve Cliquot event in Lagos
The panellists at Bold Conversations by Veuve Cliquot with the host and moderator, Michelle Dede.

Another of our art exhibition spotlights, Framing Her exhibition by GAIA Africa in partnership with Aworanka made its debut.  We also reported on a new type of luxury vacation, one that combines education with adventure.

Artwork by Niyi Okeowo of two women holding babies
Art by Niyi Okeowo was available at the Framing Her exhibition. Image courtesy of artist via Instagram

October was also the month that saw our Editor in Chief, Bella Ikeme, make the Most Influential People of Africa MIPAD Global Top 100 Under 40 class of 2021 list. The honour was in recognition of all her work with ASPIRE to promote African and African inspired brands within continent and around the world. We invite you to go back to the article to read all about it.


November’s first top story was our review on the Beauty West Africa exhibition, an event that unites beauty brands from all over the African continent and the world in one space.

Sadly, we lost legendary fashion designer and polymath, Virgil Abloh, this month. One of his last known collaborations, Project MAYBACH with Mercedes Benz, was our second top story for November.

Project Maybach was designed to run on electric batteries and solar cells
Project MAYBACH. Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
Patek Philippe x Tiffany Nautilus Ref. 5711
Patek Philippe has resurrected the Nautilus Ref 5711 for Tiffany & Co. Image courtesy of Patek Philippe

Closing our top stories for 2021 rather nicely was the Patek Phillipe Nautilus Ref 5711 for Tiffany&Co. Wonder what is so special about this unique, ultra-limited-edition timepiece? For the last time, we invite you to click on the link in case you missed the story.

So you see, we had some really good times and brought you some really great content.

On behalf of ASPIRE, I would like to say a big THANK YOU! to our team, content creators and contributors, partners and collaborators, clients and YOU!

We appreciate your continued interest in all that we have to offer, and for finding our content valuable and relevant. We have so much more planned for you all in 2022…we are going to make some magic!

ASPIRE is fired up to feature even more amazing content, organise thought-provoking industry events, and bring you insights and stories from all the people and luxury brands that you know and those that you should!

Have a great 2022!


Bella Ikeme

Editor in Chief

ASPIRE Luxury Magazine 

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