Trans Models (And Designers) Work The Runway At New York Fashion Week

"Now, I'm able to open up more of a conversation," says designer Stevie Boi, who cast six trans models in his NYFW show.

Fashion is finally beginning to acknowledge trans people—as consumers, as designers and as models. In the past year we’ve seen major campaigns with trans models commissioned by Barneys and H&M’s sister brand, & Other Stories.

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And as the Fall 2016 collections go on view during New York Fashion Week, more trans models are earning their spot on the runway.

At least one designer is making a point to use trans talent: Baltimore-based designer Stevie Boi is featuring six transgender models in his NYFW show.

“Now I’m able to open up more of a conversation,” he tells the Baltimore Sun. “Now I’m able to introduce people to more than the black-and-white. That makes them uncomfortable.”

Boi, who has made stunning eyewear for Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, turned to Slay Model Management, which books trans models for runway and editorial work.

Dominique Jackson, Angel Qinan, Ren Spriggs, Chanel Viiperi, Arisce Wanzer and trans male model Laith Ashley will all walk for Boi.
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YouTuber Gigi Gorgeous already appeared in the celebrity-heavy “Go Red For Women” red dress show yesterday along with a diverse roster that included Fran Drescher, Misty Copeland, basketball player Skylar Diggins and Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson.

Gorgeous rocked a Laurel Dewitt outfit inspired by the Statue of Liberty.

She also popped up at the August Getty show.

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And in-demand models Elliott Sailors, Rain Dove and Erika Linders have all modeled menswear.

We are _____________. #blackandwhite @zzhiwei

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But non-binary people aren’t just carving out a space on the runway: Genderfluid knockout Phillipe Blond and spouse David always wow the crowds with their flashy rock-and-roll designs.

Designer Gogo Graham makes custom clothing exclusively for trans women like herself. She’s showing next Thursday at Artists Space in TriBeCa, her second appearance at New York Fashion Week.

W magazine reports:

Her 25-look fall collection is a mix of thrift store materials and high-quality scraps from her day job at Dennis Basso [furs]—some sheer and revealing, some thick and baggy, but all meant to address persistent issues for trans women.

watch out lil fw 16 peek @teddywolff for @wmag

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For inspiration, Graham points to instances like a night on the train when a man was taking her photo, and threatened her when she confronted him—the type of interaction she’s had “more than once, more than twice, more than three times – someone is feeling a certain way about the way I’m presenting, so they decide to act violently toward me,” she said.

rp another lil tease @aurelhaizeodogbo @teddywolff for @wmag

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“I definitely want to stress that that’s not everyone’s experience… but overall it’s this feeling of how we’re in this place that’s not made for us.”

Graham, 25, actually casts her models first and then gets to work on the designs—”because a lot of our bodies are so different that I can’t even start to make something until I know who I’m working with.”

Below, we caught up with the Blonds at their fall Fashion Week show in September.

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Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery