Photography: Lea Winkler; Text: Remy Holwick.
By now, it’s hardly news that fashion has a disastrous obsession with promoting whiteness and privilege. The idea that a model should be a blank canvas, with their personality ascribed by each successive creative team on a shoot-by-shoot basis, has been slowly eroding for decades. The current generation of young adults has grown up with instagram, seeing every facet of their idols’ lives, and expects role models to be well rounded, with defined points of view, talents, flaws, and dreams. Gone are the days of supermodels whose personalities only came out in brief runway moments, before going back into hiding, waiting to be painted over by the makeup of the next campaign. Today’s face-of-the-moment is self-defining and complex.
To be sure, the last decade has seen a marked shift towards casting faces that more accurately reflect the diverse experience of consumers as well as the nature of stardom in a generation of social media natives, but this change has come slowly, and it is the result of “street casting”– while brands have slowly begun to roll out diverse campaign strategies, the agencies supplying those faces have been slower to adapt to this new idea of what a “working model” can be, and casting agencies have turned to unsigned talents, connected with directly thanks to face-to-face chance encounters, social media, and word-of-mouth casting calls.
Today, a new crop of independent agencies, representing stables of models with personal brands, is creating a bridge between traditional agency business models and new concepts of celebrity and branding. This publication’s sister agency, Other People’s Children, is “founded on the belief that the fashion industry is evolving into a more creative, forward thinking, and solutions-oriented place, and that our talent can be an active part of that evolution”.
A selection of talents, self-styled, are lensed here by Lea Winkler.