A raft of designers and models are rewriting strict fashion codes by blurring the gender divide and changing runway rules. Get a handle on these borderline personalities who use their social media platforms as a source of benefit.
Day of Nef
Model, artist, activist
Even if Nef is the first trans woman to be signed by international talent agency IMG Worldwide, the Philadelphia native thinks being trans is not the most interesting thing about her. “Gender is anything. We need to listen to people, not labels, not semantics, ”said the 29-year-old, who recently landed a role in the feature film adaptation of Barbie directed by Oscar-nominated Greta Gerwig. After graduating with awards in drama and theatrical arts from Columbia University, the stylish trailblazer made his runway debut in Milan at Gucci, before modeling for other fashion heavyweights such as L’Oréal and Hugo Boss. Using social media as a megaphone to promote transgender rights is just part of her digital playbook – she spoke with writer -director Lena Dunham on a Women of the Hour podcast and visited the White House as part of his “Champions of Change” tribute to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender artists.
Latvian-British singer-songwriter, creative director, model
Modesta lost her lower left leg at the age of 15, but that didn’t stop her from establishing a career as a model, artist and musician. Her prosthetic leg, a vintage piece with a silver dotted body-piercing pin, has already become part of her “bionic” persona in the underground nightlife scene and on the fashion circuit. Armed with a unique artistic sense, Modesta realized that she had become her own best project – she helped design a series of prosthetics with the Alternative Limb Project and it became a standard for those who looked look at the opposition to how society views shortcomings. Afterwards, he was invited by the MIT Media Lab to participate in the Director Fellows program, which brings together innovators from a variety of areas of expertise to collaborate. These days, she dances to her own beat and preaches the positive through her new music album.
Entrepreneur, model, blogger
Not having the type of hair that is considered “female” in culture in general can damage self-confidence, as evidenced by Jada Pinkett Smith’s medical condition, which played a significant role in her husband’s failure. at this year’s Oscars. Many women care differently, including Bombay-based blogger and model Toshada Uma, who has been dealing with alopecia since she was nine years old. A fan of Japanese fashion stalwart Rei Kawakubo, the little model radiates her avant-garde and radical passion in her daily get-up without letting criticism about her hair come to her. Sportswear giant Nike may have given Uma a big break, but he’s not one to rest on his laurels – the young businessman seeks to put India on the map by launching a line of clothing and accessories in name AltShop soon.
Photographer and filmmaker
Known for her strong imagination and use of vivid colors, Camila Falquez’s editorial work adorns the pages of Vogue, Porter Magazine and The New York Times, featuring the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Penelope Cruz and Isabella Rossellini. But this Colombian, Mexican and Spanish photographer’s personal project, when (and its second installment), is actually embodying his masterful skill of telling stories with a frame. The project challenges traditional beauty ideas, bringing topics from different marginalized communities to a pedestal to occupy a space where they have long been excluded. See photos at beinginhitory.com.
Fashion influencer, model
Called Tik Tok’s best-dressed man by Vogue, Kaye’s wisdom has always been the subject of praise for her contemporary-meets-classic-1970s ’style and expressive fashion sense. With eight million followers and counting, Kaye has created creative videos that disprove myths, like you can’t wear navy and black, or boots with shorts, by showing these looks with panache. She loves to illustrate how fashion has no boundaries, incorporating pieces from the women’s section and styling clothes to what you own. Kaye’s popularity has led to major collaborations, including with Dior, Coach and Fendi, and a modeling contract with IMG. The 21-year-old social media icon made her runway debut last year at Balmain’s Spring 2022 show.
Deaf and trans-masculine actor, actress, model
Many recognize Chella Man as the mute superhero Jericho in the live-action original DC Universe series Titans, but the New York -based creative represented the deaf community that way before he took on the role. Recognizing himself as “deaf, trans, Chinese and Jewish”, Man has relentlessly advocated for inclusivity through art, be it in the form of paintings, fashion or film. He was a columnist for Condé Naste’s first publication they, was IMG’s first deaf and trans-masculine model and partnered with the Opening Ceremony to launch a radically inclusive clothing line. Last year, Man released his debut book Moving forwardhighlighting the revelations he discovered growing up in the face of systematic oppression.
Activist, influencer, beauty entrepreneur
Harlow loves her skin, so she launched a beauty line recently to help other women with vitiligo, a condition that interferes with melanin production. But self -acceptance and fame didn’t just land on the lap of the former America’s Next Top Model contestant. It took years for him to overcome a battle of physical abuse and contempt to name-calling as he slowly accepted the release of the norm. After putting his best face forward for brands like Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Puma and Steve Madden, the Jamaican-Canadian continues to share his life with depigmentation through a TEDx presentation, videos on YouTube and, most recently, the talk show of actress Drew Barrymore.
Fashion and beauty model
Ellie Goldstein had her breakout moment when she starred in an international editorial campaign for Gucci Beauty in partnership with Vogue Italy in 2020. She was the first model with Down syndrome to pose for the luxury brand, gaining worldwide attention and support from fans, especially those with the same condition. Since then, the 19-year-old British has served as the face of Laura Mercier, the cover girl for GLAMOR UK and is now part of Adidas ’Impossible is Nothing campaign. She hopes to be an example for people with disabilities and inspire others to be confident and not ashamed of themselves.
First plus-size male model
Male models typically maintain two looks: the gym-chiselled body perfect for the runway or the slender, androgynous demeanor often seen on magazine spreads. Miko fits perfectly between the two, filling the fashion chasm with his 6ft 6in (1.98m) size and an affable, boy-next-door appeal that allows him to sell anything. Even if the former actor-comedian is known for starting a new wave of talent by pioneering IMG’s Brawn division (the first section of the agency dedicated entirely to male characters), he is also famous to launch a podcast called Big Things, hoping men get something out of the plus-size women’s revolution. Just as women speak to overcome their struggle with body image, Miko radiates bravado and false masculinity by removing the negative correlation that “big” means “fat”.
Nalisa Alia Amin
Body acceptance advocate, model
Plus-size model Nalisa Alia Amin is an inspiration to many, not only in her strength in promoting the transformation of the Malaysian fashion and beauty industry, but also in her weakness to be open about personal struggle with body image and mental health. Formerly a writer for fashion magazines, Nalisa debuted as a model at KL Fashion Week-the first plus-size woman to do so-for Min Luna in 2018 and since the campaigns in fashion with Syomirizwa Gupta, Levi’s and Zalora to name a few. Her wardrobe is comprised of several local brands, some of which she has modeled, including Summer & Peach, Wanderlust + Co and Ozero Swimwear.
This article first appeared on Apr 25, 2022 (Spring/Summer 2022 issue) in The Edge Malaysia.