Makers + Mavericks 2021

Hiut Denim Co
23 min readJan 1, 2022

Each year we compile a list of the one hundred+ people that got us to utter the words ‘I wish I had done that, made that, invented that, thought like that, changed that’.

These are the amazing people who have shone the brightest for us over the past twelve months. Another year unlike any other.

Makers of the Year.

The Blockchain Creator Community.

Songwriters had music. Coders have blockchain. And they’re changing entire industries through creativity: NFTs, DAOs, Defi, MetaVerse, P2E. The new business model is ‘community’. I wonder what they’ll launch tomorrow.

Maverick of the Year.

Nayib Bukele.

In 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender alongside the US Dollar. The maverick president plans to harness free Volcano power to mine Bitcoin and lift his people out of poverty.

1. Well-Being.

Simone Biles.

With the eyes of the world upon her, the greatest gymnast of all time forced a global conversation about mental health.

Ally Maz.

Writer, entrepreneur and yoga teacher. She is the founder of Girlvana Yoga, Ladyvana Retreats and the co-founder of yoga studio The Distrikt.

Lu in Lululand.

A British Mum living in Portland Oregon. Dedicated to growing old disgracefully and leading a self love revolution.

Will Douglas.

London-based photographer Will Douglas started visiting a nearby outdoor gym during the first lockdown; and in turn discovered wonderful stories.

Prince Harry + Meghan Markle.

A couple focussing on what connects us, rather than what divides us. Each of us can change our communities. All of us can change the world.

Luiza Trajano.

Championing women’s rights and racial equality; all while building one of Brazil’s largest retail groups.

Gareth Dauncey.

Founder of mood app — see how you feel through colour. So you can work out what makes you happier and what doesn’t. Currently in beta for Q1 release.

Hello Lamp Post.

Encouraging people to look at their city with fresh eyes. It gives citizens a chance to slow down, reflect and feedback to their city.

Frances Haugen.

The American data engineer and scientist tackling misinformation and exposing the ethical shortcomings of Facebook.

Oura App.

Sleep is the best productivity app ever. And Oura is the best device to help you track, measure and improve your sleep.

2. Purpose Driven.

Michael Sheen.

The not-for-profit actor who has essentially turned himself into a social enterprise by giving everything away for a cause close to his heart.

Hellah Sidibe.

Running every day since 15 May 2017. The first African American to complete the arduous 3061 mile journey from Los Angeles to New York.

Vincent Stanley.

One of Patagonia’s original employees. Vincent joined as an Intern, he is now the all-inspiring Director of Philosophy.

Afdhel Aziz.

Catalysing passion, purpose, positivity and joy to accelerate transformation; in people, culture and the world.

Henry Glogau.

Architecture Student who has devised a portable solar distiller to produce safe drinking water and electricity at almost zero cost.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A paragon of liberalism and moral clarity. AOC is an inspirational role model with an innate ability to connect with people everywhere.

Tina Roth Eisenberg.

In Creative Mornings she has created the biggest face to face creative community. Nice people do win. Yay.

Rose Ayling-Ellis.

One moment of silence can help a community feel heard. British actress and deaf since birth, she became the first deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

Jeannie Jay Park.

Creator and Activist campaigning to #EndAsianHate. Founding Sanitation Nation with the goal to restore the humanity behind the things we consume.

Maisie Williams.

Actor, Creative and Entrepreneur who co-launched the social media platform Daisie; designed to help artists and creators in their careers.

3. Creativity.

Isaac Wright.

An Army veteran who began shooting photography to cope with mental illness. His work captures the world from never before seen perspectives.

Tom Gauld.

Cartoonist and Illustrator whose style reflects his self-professed fondness of deadpan comedy, flat dialogue and things happening offstage.

Chaz Hutton.

One man’s philosophy of life; on Post-It notes. Clever and funny illustrations that break down life’s foibles into graphs, charts and simple diagrams.

Melanie Perkins.

Technology Entrepreneur. Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of online graphic design platform Canva.

Sam Conniff.

Author of the international best seller Be More Pirate and Writer + Director of a world’s first interactive documentary Uncertainty Experts.

Lois van Baarle.

Digital Artist, Character Designer and Animator creating outstanding illustration work under the name Loish.

Rael San Fratello.

Play can be an act of resistance. US architecture studio whose pink seesaws straddled the US-Mexico border.

Marcus Ohlsson.

Exceptional photography. Defined by a deep connection with the subject and a ongoing desire to use natural light and work on location whenever possible.

Matt Willey.

Consistently raising the bar for print production, his latest project INQUE is an annual documenting what is set to be an era-defining decade.

Es Devlin.

Artist and Designer creating large-scale performative sculptures and environments that fuse music, language and light.

Michael C Place.

Designer that inspired a generation. His book COLLECTED (M9) is print par excellence. A celebration of falling over and picking yourself up; and more.

Virgil Abloh

Trailblazer and innovator who broke boundaries in the tradition-soaked fashion industry, taking streetwear to the highest levels of the luxury market.

4. Future of Money Online (FOMO).

Jack Mallers.

CEO of Zap, a bitcoin investment and payments company that transacts over the Lightning Network.

Changpeng Zhao.

CZ is the Founder and CEO of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

Flori Marquez.

Co-Founder of cryptocurrency lending platform BlockFi, which allows crypto holders to lend out cryptocurrency at rates as high as 8.6%.

Michael Saylor.

Chairman and CEO of publicly traded business intelligence firm MicroStrategy. A passionate advocate for the Bitcoin Standard.

Raoul Pal.

CEO + Co-Founder of Real Vision. Think of it as Netflix for money. They are dedicated to getting to the truth of Finance.

Do Kwon.

Co-Founder of Terra Labs. Using blockchain technology to develop a more efficient payment system.

Cathie Wood.

CEO of Ark. She finds disruptive innovative businesses and places high conviction bets on them.

Kathryn Haun.

In December 2021 she announced she would be leaving Anderson Harrowitz to set up her own Web 3.0 fund with C.Dixon.

Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal + Anurag Arjun.

Co-Founders of Polygon (formerly Matic). Providing tools to improve speed and reduce the cost and complexities of transactions on blockchain networks.

Stani Kulechov.

Founder and CEO of Aave. Open-source protocol for earning interest on your deposits and borrowing assets.

Anatoly Yakovenko.

Co-Founder of Solana Labs. For payments to work on the blockchain, payments will have to be fast. Solana is one of the fastest there is.

Arianna Simpson.

General partner at a16z. Focused on how games can help create community and jobs through the Play to Earn model.

Trung Nguyen.

Axie Infinity has become the biggest blockchain game in the world, and along the way came up with a new business model; Play to Earn.

Sam Bankman-Fried.

The richest person in crypto, thanks to his FTX exchange and Alameda Research trading firm.

5. Tech.


Breathtaking imagery and the first leg of a round trip to Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in the Jezero Crater on Mars on 18 February 2021.

Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Ape in with us. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, each of which costs a minimum of $200,000.

Elon Musk.

The richest man in the world does not own a house, but instead is working to revolutionise transportation both on Earth and in space.

Twitter Public Interest Framework.

Exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. However, these accounts are not above the community rules.

Girls Who Code.

Nonprofit organisation who collaborated with Doja Cat to create the first ever codable music video .

Eva Chen.

Children’s author and Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram. Pushing for more inclusivity in fashion.

Evans Hankey.

Vice president of Industrial Design at Apple. Leading the renowned team that designs Apple’s product lineup.

The QR Code.

Don’t call it a comeback. It’s contactless potential has given the QR Code a new lease of life and a real opportunity to thrive.

Demis Hassabis.

DeepMind’s founder and CEO announced the creation of the Alphabet Isomorphic Lab to find cures for humanity’s most devastating diseases.

6. Podcasts.

Renegades: Born in the USA.

Conversations between President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen about their lives, music, and enduring love of America, despite all its challenges.

As the Season Turns.

Each episode, released on the first of every month, is a guide on what to look out for in the month ahead; from the sky above to the land below.

Modern Love.

Exploring the complicated love lives of real people through conversation and storytelling; based on the weekly New York Times column.

Three Bean Salad.

Comedians Mike Wozniak, Henry Paker and Benjamin Partridge. Each week the three beans tackle a different theme, suggested by the listening audience.

Song Exploder.

A podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.

The Adventure Podcast.

An ongoing series of long-form conversations with pioneers of exploration and discovery. Get up close with those who live extraordinary lives.

The Morning After Mix.

Ease yourself into the day ahead with these weekly two-hour mixtapes from BBC Sounds. New music and audio comfort to make you feel better.


Stuck at home, Louis Theroux used the lockdown to track down some of the high profile people he’s been longing to talk to.


Idris and Sabrina Elba dig into what makes successful relationships thrive in business, activism, love and life.

Do One Thing Well.

Hiut Denim Co.’s monthly research project into brands and business that Do One Thing Well.

7. Black Lives Matter.

Michaela Coel.

One of the world’s most exciting creative talents: an actor, writer and director whose work ploughs the depths and heights of modern life.

Betty Campbell.

Wales’ First Black Headteacher and a champion of multiculturalism, her life and legacy is now honoured with a monument in Cardiff.

Jameela Jamil.

Actor, presenter, activist and self-confessed feminist-in-progress. A vocal critic of diet culture and a fervent promoter of body inclusivity.

Lewis Hamilton.

The seven-time Formula 1 champion continues to be a leading voice in calling for an end to racial injustice and for the creation of a more inclusive society.

Colston Four.

Four people accused of criminal damage in connection with the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston; currently on trial in Bristol.

Kenya Hunt.

Author, Creative Consultant and Fashion Director of Grazia UK. Her career spans some of the media world’s most influential women’s titles.

Nicole Krystal Crentsil.

Founder of Black Girl Fest. Empowering Black women through educating and equipping community members with tools for professional success.

Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.

Host of the Resistance podcast. Refusing to accept things as they are. Telling stories from the front line, from the generation fighting for change.


Fashion Editor + Stylist. Advocate for diversity, inclusivity, sustainable fashion and creativity.

Naomi Osaka.

Changing the game. Not just a tennis champion, but an entrepreneur, luminary and role model for people across the globe.

8. Words.


Non-Fungible Token. A unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, and is recorded in a blockchain.


We’re All Gonna Make It. Typically used in the online trading sphere to show camaraderie with fellow investors after good news related to their holdings.


Play to Earn is a new model in decentralised games that allows players to earn and sell in-game assets. Participants are rewarded with crypto or NFTs.


A proposed version of the internet that incorporates three-dimensional virtual environments. Don’t be surprised if you bump into Mark Zuckerberg.


The large-scale notification of members of the public by a contact-tracing app. If you are pinged, you are advised to self-isolate for a set amount of time.


The opposite of trendy. Used when someone still follows out of date trends. This includes fashion, habits on social media, usage of slang and more.


Hodl is a term derived from a misspelling of hold, in the context of buying and holding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


A cryptocurrency (or crypto) is a form of payment that can circulate without the need for a central monetary authority, such as a government or bank.


Abbreviation of Good Morning, commonly used across social media and text messaging. GM readers!


Meaning today for you, tomorrow for me. With roots in the ancient language of the Incas, it suggests that giving comes before receiving.

9. Environment.

Vanessa Nakate.

Climate Activist and Author. Fighting to bring a new African voice to the Climate Crisis.

Chris Packham.

Presenter, Naturalist, Conservationist, award-winning Photographer and Author. His unwavering activism for Animal Welfare is an inspiration.

Lee Waters MS.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change announced that every household in Wales will be given a free tree to plant. Available to collect from March 2022.

Gene Berdichevsky.

Co-Founder and CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies, the materials technology company reinventing the lithium-ion battery.

The Green Planet.

Hopes to do for plants what Attenborough has done for oceans and animals; create understanding and encourage us to care.

Charlot Magayi.

Fighting one of the world’s greatest health risks. Working to reduce air pollution in low income households in Kenya.

Lucas Ruzo.

Rewilding the UK, one Grasshopper at a time. CEO of Citizen Zoo with a mission to restore habitats back to their functional state.


The world’s first net zero carbon elite level football game, played between Chelsea F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur.

Holly Budge.

Think big and dream bigger. First woman to skydive Everest and the founder of international non profit organisation How Many Elephants.

Vaitea Cowan.

Co-Founder of Enapter. Providing a clean alternative by turning renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas.

Vinisha Umashankar.

For millions of Indians each day, her solar-powered ironing cart provides a clean alternative to the traditional charcoal powered street irons .

10. Product.

Andrey Petrov.

Business Architect, Brand Builder and Serial Enterpreuner. Founder of Voylok, the next evolution of sustainable footwear. For nature and her lovers.

Petit Pli.

Clothes that grow with your child. Addressing the wasteful nature of fashion. Inspired by aerospace engineering.

Alex Verier.

Co-Founder of Pelegrims. Taking excess ingredients from the wine growing process. Creating exceptional skincare formulations.

Graeme Raeburn.

Textile Shaman and Garment Necromancer. Lead Designer at Albion. Making products for cycling in British conditions.


Making premium camera accessories that don’t cost the Earth. Their range of low impact camera accessories are made for conscious creators.

Miroslava Duma.

Face and founder of Pangaia, the material science brand who are taking the world by storm.

Baboon to the Moon.

Bags designed to survive any scenario and become more beautiful with age. Made with the highest grade materials and coming with a lifetime guarantee.

Tania Boler.

Internationally recognised women’s health expert. Founder and CEO of Elvie. Taking women’s tech out of the dark ages.

Ophelia Chen + Abi Lierheimer.

Founders of Bobblehaus. Bringing together global Gen-Z perspectives on fashion, music, art, design and technology.

Marc Newson.

Believe in your f***ing self. Stay up all f***ing night. A quote pinned to the wall of Designer Marc’s home. We’re big fans of his Quobus modular shelving.

Lyndsay Lucero.

A digital creative wanting to use her skills to do more. Founder of Baxley Bags. Honest bags, handmade in Sussex.

Owen Mears + Emily Cameron.

Brother and sister behind the organic natural fragrance brand Ffern. Small batch, organic and seasonal English perfume blended four times per year.

Sheep Inc.

Contemporary knitwear that has a positive impact on the world. Sheep are also heavily involved.

11. Sport + Adventure.

Sky Brown.

Do it ’cause you love it! Olympic medal-winning skater, surfer and social media star; and still just 13.

Bethany Shriever.

The first British BMX racing cyclist in history to win both the Olympic and World titles in the same year.

Eliud Kipchoge.

I don’t run with my legs; I run with my heart and my mind. One of the greatest long-distance runners of all time.

Emma Raducanu.

Reigning US Open champion and the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since 1977.

Mo Salah.

Funding regeneration in his hometown of Nagrig. An advocate of women’s equality in the Middle East. And one of the best footballers in the world.

Max Verstappen.

Max by name. Max by nature. The 2021 Formula 1 World Champion who just keeps pushing the limits.

Real Betis FC.

Fans of the Spanish football club threw thousands of toys onto the field during halftime of a recent game, to make sure kids in need had a gift at Christmas.

Danny MacAskill.

Scottish trials cyclist legendary for his YouTube viral videos. His life is one of thrills, spills and millions of online hits.

Ajax Third Kit.

The design of the new Ajax third jersey pays tribute to Bob Marley and his Three Little Birds song.

Mark Cavendish.

After illness, setbacks and clinical depression, the once fastest man in the world had been written off by most. But they were wrong.

12. Music.

Little Simz.

Introversion is considered synonymous with shyness, but in Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Simbiatu Ajikawo demonstrates her true power.

Rebecca Lucy Taylor.

The sound of an artist coming into her own. Self Esteem’s remarkable second album mixes the intimate and conversational with the unabashedly dramatic.

Apple Spatial Audio.

Bringing industry-leading sound quality. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking places sound all around you to create a 3D listening experience.


Fans called for Britney Spears to be released from the legal conservatorship agreement the she’d been held under for the past 12 years; with great success.

The Beatles: Get Back.

Documentary from Peter Jackson. Featuring raw and unguarded footage of The Beatles creative process as they worked to complete the album Let It Be.

The Storyteller.

A collection of memories of a life lived loud, from the incomparable creative force that is Dave Grohl.

Kid A Mnesia Exhibition.

An upside-down digital universe created from original artwork and recordings to commemorate 21 years of Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac.


After six long years, and much speculation, Adele finally released her long awaited new album; it was instantly met with widespread critical acclaim.

Billie Eilish.

The already iconic Singer and Songwriter, with a voice, style and attitude all unapologetically her own.

Lil Nas X.

Rapper, Singer and master of attention, who has changed how we do what we do, and who gets to do it, forever.

13. Platforms of Influence.

Grayson’s Art Club.

Encouraging everyone to express their creativity through art. Art is good for you, whoever you are.

We Present.

Editorial platform designed to tell unexpected stories about creative minds and spark inspiration. Curated and created by WeTransfer.

Extra Nice Fund.

It’s Nice That giving back to the creative community. A annual fund enabling a meaningful project that’s aimed at improving diversity in our industry.

Netflix Queue.

Queue is a place for Netflix’s global family, people on-screen and off, to share the story behind the story.


Where creators learn together. Daisie brings creators together in live classes hosted by industry-leading experts.


Brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Trends start here. On TikTok, short-form user-generated videos are exciting, spontaneous, and genuine.

The Gentlewoman.

Online and in print. Taking a look at the world of female fashion with a witty and intelligent approach.


Reinventing the art of the French salon for the 21st century. You will leave with new ideas, new friends and new intellectual plans.

Move to Zero.

Nike’s journey towards zero carbon and zero waste. Follow each step in their journey and discover new ways we can move to zero together.

Marc A. Ross.

Global communications strategist and founder of Brigadoon. Curating the emerging issues and independent thinkers shaping commerce and culture.

14. Brave New Wales.

The Awen Project.

A school for the future, built to excel in the present. Founded by Charlotte Church to create a model that’s sustainable, adaptable and personalised.

Kelly Lee Owens.

Convention-blurring producer and musician who’s album Inner Song won this year’s Welsh music prize. Plus a video featuring fellow M+M Michael Sheen.

Ty Syml.

Zero Waste Living. Currently focusing on the use of seaweed and mycelium (mushroom) composites as a material to create.

Lizzie Daly.

Biologist working to highlight the importance of preserving nature to protect humanity. Watch her film in partnership with Volvo; Searching for Orca.

Lauren Price.

From driving taxis in the Welsh Valleys to triumph in Tokyo, Lauren Price claimed boxing gold the hard way.

Wrexham A.F.C.

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took ownership of Wales’s oldest football club and the eyes of the world fell on Wrexham.

Irfon Watkins.

Founder of Chapel. On a mission to change the live music revenue model forever. Collectively we can make this happen.

Kayleigh Llewellyn.

Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of the acclaimed and award winning drama series, In My Skin. Currently working on the final season of Killing Eve.

Sian Sykes.

Founder of Psyched Paddleboarding who swapped 18-hour days stuck at a desk to surf with seals in Wales.

Priya Hall.

Welsh-Indian stand-up comedian and comedy writer who is quickly ascending the UK comedy scene.

Rod Lloyd.

Founder of Low Cost Vans Wales. Leading the way on electric vans. At the same time using his business to quietly help his community. A noble Maverick.


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You made it to the bottom. Phew.
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Hiut Denim Co

Our town is making jeans again. Founders: @DavidHieatt & @ClareHieatt Do one thing well.