Adwoa Aboah has a luminous, almost otherworldly quality about her. Maybe that’s because she devotes most of her energy to Gurls Talk, her online community where young women can discuss issues including mental health, sexuality, and self-care.
Adidas Originals jacket; Albertus Swanepoel hat.
Edie Campbell brings a welcome sense of androgyny to fashion and has the ability to transform herself into practically any character in front of the camera. She has an art history degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, which explains her keen understanding of the body and how to pose.
Balenciaga top and boot leggings.
Aaron Philip, who lives with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is changing the definition of what a model should look like. As she observed in the tweet that first got her noticed: “Honestly, when I get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency, it’s over for y’all! By ‘y’all’ I mean the world ! It’s real inclusivity/diversity hours, folks, get into it!”
Pushbutton jacket and skirt; Maison Margiela boots.
Tess McMillan may be a relative newcomer, but she’s already breaking barriers for models of all sizes. With her Renaissance looks, the 19-year-old Texan was spotted on Instagram by a modeling agency; after working on a couple of short films, she now has her sights set not just on fashion but also on Hollywood.
Gooseberry Intimates bra and tap pants; Prada shoes; stylist’s own earrings.
Pierpaolo Piccioli created these puffers for Moncler in collaboration with Lemlem, the label founded by the supermodel Liya Kebede to support artisans in Africa. The gowns, inspired by Ethiopian textiles, prove how true collaborations between cultures can create something completely new and unexpected.
1 Moncler Pierpaolo Piccioli gowns.
Vincent Lapp jumpsuit and hat; Ellie Shoes boots.
The model and artist Kiki Willems gives a creative edge to everything she wears and has become one of the most in-demand models working today. She and her boyfriend, the model Jonas Glöer, are often photographed together on the street thanks to their off-duty sense of style.
Liam Johnson dress; Balenciaga shoes; stylist’s own hat, gloves, and tights.
Isabella Rossellini is an instantly recognizable acting legend, but she is also a devoted animal activist who last year completed her master’s degree in animal behavior and conservation. She recently explored the connection between animals and humans with her one-woman, one-dog theatrical show, Link Link Circus, in New York and Santa Monica.
Graham Tyler gown; Harvy Santos cowl.
The young talents seen here, who were all cast on the street, own their individuality and are proudly embracing self-expression in all its forms. This is what the future of culture looks like.
Models wear their own clothing.
The actor and artist Bobbi Salvör Menuez, who prefers the pronouns they and them, recently appeared in HBO’s Euphoria, and in the film Adam, which explored gender fluidity. Menuez’s next role is in the film Under My Skin.
Gucci jacket, vest, shirt, and tie.
When Maartje Convens finished her bachelor’s degree at Central Saint Martins last year, her graduation collection stood out for its meticulous construction, and especially for the skirt and corset “belt bags” inspired by her grandfather’s coal mining tool kits. Convens’s experience with fashion is apparent in her modeling work.
Richard Quinn dress, bodysuit, and gloves; vintage tiara from New York Vintage, New York.
Alek Wek has been an inspirational figure for two decades and counting. A Sudanese refugee, she appeared on virtually every catwalk in the mid-’90s, when African models were a rarity. Since then, Wek has become an ambassador to Doctors Without Borders in Sudan and to the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council. Last year, she appeared in Luca Guadagnino’s film Suspiria.
From left: Speedo USA bathing suits; Alek wears an Emilia Wickstead gown.
Balenciaga top and boot leggings.