Game-Changing Models of the New Generation

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Image Credit: Gurls Talk

In the age of empowerment, models are on a mission to break the stereotypes and challenge the criteria by which their success is measured.

Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a model is “A person employed to display clothes by wearing them.” Which is, in the literal sense, true, of course – but clearly inadequate especially when one thinks about the successful, outspoken and inspiring models of our time, like Adwoa Aboah, Winnie Harlow, Ashley Graham, Hari Nef and Halima Aden. If there was a chance to edit that definition now and expand it, what could’ve been said?

A model is a person (i.e. a human, not a hanger) who has a unique character, soul, opinions and beliefs. A person who works hard to show that, that there’s much more to them. A person who works hard in the professional sense too, in not always so glamorous conditions which they have little control over, while more often than not facing gender and racial discrimination, verbal abuse and bullying, sexual assault and constant criticism about how to look, what to eat, who to become. A person who has scars and marks, insecurities and health issues like everyone else, but perhaps feels that people don’t want to hear about all that, they just want to see the body – the person who is employed to display clothes by wearing them.

But not anymore. Now, that person is not afraid to show the layers of who they are, and inspire thousands, even millions of people to do the same and not hide themselves, to embrace their identity, ethnicity, sexuality and to be whoever they want to be. That person is part of the new generation of models who use the power of social media to do that. Through social media, these models have the chance to show and express their true selves whenever and however they want and get their message out to the world in an instant. As Sara Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance, points out, “Social media has given models a platform they didn’t have before.”

This powerful tool enables models to share any abusive and exploitative behavior they experienced in the industry with millions, get it off their chest and shed light on a much-glamorized part of the fashion world. One of the most prominent examples of this is how Cameron Russell used Instagram to encourage her fellow models to share their experiences with sexual assault in the industry, by using the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse.

By sharing their stories, insecurities and “imperfections” through these platforms, models often find an incredible amount of support and encouragement and inspire many people with similar issues. For instance, when Iskra Lawrence shared her 10-year journey of overcoming her body insecurities on her Instagram, her post quickly became viral and received thousands of likes and support comments.

Models use social media platforms also to promote campaigns on social and environmental issues and raise public awareness. Adwoa Aboah is one of the most important such names that come to mind, as she uses her social media accounts often to promote and share news of her non-profit organisation Gurls Talk and engage with millions of young people.

On the other hand, there’s also the other side of the coin – models receive not only support and appreciation but also harsh criticism and hateful comments and face cyberbullying too. However, although it is by no means easy, thanks to their self-aware, confident and brave attitude, they can rise above the negative, don’t let it dim their light and use the very same platform where people criticize them to show they are not defined by others’ opinions.

One of the many models who experienced serious cyberbullying is Öykü Baştaş, a young Turkish model who was discovered thanks to IMG’s Instagram scouting campaign We Love Your Genes, and made her runway debut at Gucci, becoming the first ever international Turkish model.

Following the Gucci show, her remarkable rise continued as she walked runways for some of the most important fashion houses, such as Burberry and Acne Studios. However, in her home country, there were very few designers who wanted to work with her. One of them was Cengiz Abazoglu, one of the most famous fashion designers in Turkey, who said about choosing Öykü:

“When casting models, one of the most important qualities I look for is individuality. I prefer to select models who are unique, confident and charismatic. Öykü is also one of those models, when I first saw her I was very impressed by her natural presence and high energy, and immediately wanted to include her in my shows.”

On the other hand, since Öykü doesn’t necessarily fit the conventional beauty standards of Turkish society, instead of widespread support and acknowledgment of her success, she started receiving hundreds of hate messages and criticism on social media based on her appearance. However, instead of letting this get to her, she took a different approach, and simply replied: “I also don’t think I’m beautiful, I agree with you.”

Following that statement, suddenly the reactions changed, and she started to receive apology messages and huge support from people. While this example highlights some very problematic aspects of Turkish society on a sociological level, it most importantly shows how the models of the new generation are not afraid anymore. They’re not silent. They’re not perfect, and they know they don’t really need to be because they’re human. They know better than putting their energy into photoshopping and filtering their images constantly, so they can meet the expectations. They don’t care, actually. What they care about is making the modelling industry a better, fairer and more genuine place, where models can be who they are – neither the ugly duckling nor the swan, in Öykü’s words.

And they know that this self-awareness is all that counts in an industry and world that constantly try to make them doubt themselves. Well, not anymore.

How to Become a Successful Model in 2018

Embrace your unique features that make you stand out, don’t try to change them in order to become who someone expects you to be. There will always be someone telling you you’re not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough – don’t let their opinions dictate who you are, know that only you can define yourself. Wear your so-called imperfections more confidently than any high-end designer label. Most importantly, genuinely accept yourself for who you are, love that person from the bottom of your heart and do all you can to express the soul of that person, be it through writing, making art, advocating for causes you believe in, or in any other way you please. Don’t forget, you may not always find bliss in silence, but always in being yourself.

Article originally published on Rare Select Models Blog.

Kitty Ferreira- An Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Label

Kitty Ferreira Ethical Fashion Label

Recently I’ve had the chance to meet Valerie Goode, the name behind the successful ethical & sustainable fashion label Kitty Ferreira, based in London.

The brand has launched at London Fashion Week two years ago, and it has won multiple awards from Royal College of Arts in 2013 for design innovation, and also the “Extending the Lifecycle of Clothing Design Award” from WRAP.org, which is an important government organisation.

The philosophy of the brand is to bridge the gap between the city and natural world, by using herbal dyes and natural sources such as pomegranate and onion skins in their collections. Their aim is to make sustainability and ethics more common and widely-accepted in the fashion world.

Kitty Ferreira Brand

When I asked Valerie what her inspirations are for her designs, she told me that she looks at her grandmother, the person that she named the brand after. She explained how the way that her grandmother relied on the land to feed, clothe and heal herself inspires her.

In my opinion, what she’s trying to do is really impressive – recalling the pure and natural way of living of the past and using it to create something valuable and make a change in the world.

If you’re interested in ethical fashion, or want to find out more about this unique brand, make sure to check out their social media pages :

Website: kittyferreira.co.uk

Facebook: Kitty Ferreira UK

Twitter: Kitty Ferreira UK

Instagram: Kitty Ferreira Uk

Kitty Ferreira London

Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading! :)

 

Mademoiselle Privé

I’ve mentioned Chanel’s new exhibition Mademoiselle Privé at Saatchi Gallery earlier in my LV Series 3 post as an exhibition not to miss – after visiting, my opinion is definitely the same. It is a unique exhibition, or rather an experience that offers an insight into the classic yet glamorous world of Chanel, created by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and transformed by Karl Lagerfeld.

The exhibition is similar to LV Series 3, in the sense that they both draw on dim lighting, digital technology and can be considered as “multimedia exhibitions” as they involve different forms of media such as audio, video, texts, animations and more. Also, they both greatly encourage visitor engagement.

In fact Mademoiselle Privé carries the use of digital technology & visitor engagement one step further, as there is an app of the same name specially made for the exhibition, in order to enhance the interaction between the exhibition and the visitors.

When you first enter the exhibition, a mirrored staircase greets you, which is the reconstruction of the original one in Chanel’s apartment, where she used to sit to observe fashion shows taking place downstairs, without being seen. So if you have downloaded the Mademoiselle Privé app and hold your phone to the staircase, you’ll be surprised to see Chanel’s apartment in Rue Cambon!

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The first parts of the exhibition focuses more on Coco Chanel and the most important and symbolic places in her life. After the mirrored suitcase, you enter a room full with hats, boxes and amazing illustrations, that symbolizes the first ever shop of Coco Chanel in 21 Rue Cambon, where she used to sell the hats she made. The voice of Geraldine Chaplin (as Chanel) tells that she used to put the hats into cake boxes, and other interesting facts about her earlier experience in the fashion world continues to be heard as you walk around.

An enlarged version of one of the diamond pieces from Coco Chanel’s first and only jewellery collection “Bijoux de Diamants” in 1932 is displayed in a huge bird cage – making it appear even more charming.


One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition to me, is where Chanel’s most important totems such as lucky numbers, pearls and the color red are displayed in different forms and shapes.

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Then there’s the futuristic and somewhat laboratory-like room of Chanel’s iconic N°5 perfume.

I really enjoyed the “Jardin à la Française”, the impressive model of a garden that seems like a small labyrinth, and the walls of which are inspired by Chanel’s symbol, opposing C’s.

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Moving on to the Haute Couture section of the exhibition, where special pieces of Chanel’s jewellery collection are combined and displayed together with Karl Lagerfeld’s haute couture designs made for this exhibition. The portraits of celebrities such as Keira Knightley and Julian Moore , wearing the designers’ pieces and jewels are on the walls of the room, surrounding the mannequins.

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Finally, on the third floor of the exhibition, there are three very interesting workshops which again show the interactive side of the exhibition, and allow the visitors to get a more in depth knowledge about different topics.

Chanel N°5 Olfactive Workshop is, as understood by the name, offers the secrets of this iconic perfume.

Lesage is a famous embroidery atelier that is one of Chanel’s artisan partners. The workshop under the same name gives an insight into craftsmanship, and is for the ones who want to learn more about embroidery from professionals.

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Lemarié, the couture flower and feather maker is also a part of Chanel’s artisan team. It’s workshop is for people who want to know more about feathers and the creation of flowers, such as the iconic camellias of Chanel made by Lemarié.

I didn’t have a chance to join the workshops as I haven’t made a booking in advance, but I think that they all seem really interesting and informing, so I’d recommend you to try and join if you’d like to learn more about any of the specific topics.

I really enjoyed my visit to this exhibition, as in my opinion it was a unique experience with many special elements that are able to take you to a different atmosphere. The exhibition ends this Sunday, on the 1st of November, and admission is free.

Here is the link to Chanel’s official website for more detailed information on the exhibition.

I’d love to hear your opinions on the exhibition as well, hope you enjoyed this post!

 

Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition

Louis Vuitton Series 3

Fashion and art collaborations have become quite common nowadays, for example especially high-end brands like Chanel have done many exhibitions in different parts of the world and continue to do so (Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition started two days ago at Saatchi Gallery).

Louis Vuitton is one of those brands that show a great interest in the art world; as their numerous collaborations with artists in the past also point out (e.g. their collection with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in 2012). As it can be understood from the name, “Series 3” is the third of their “Series” exhibitions – the previous ones have started in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and then continued in other cities.

I visited the exhibition about a week ago. It’s at the 180 Strand building near Somerset House, and it’s about the brand’s artistic director’s inspirations for the creation of the Autumn-Winter 2015 collection. As a whole I found it quite successful, as the designs of the brand are displayed in a minimalist, virtual and dramatic atmosphere; this way the focus is always on them. For instance the all-white mannequin sculptures that are decorated with LV accessories make the products stand out significantly.

The use of dim lighting and different videos giving an insight to the creation process are outstanding, especially the ones that show how LV bags are hand-crafted are very interesting. There are also catwalk videos which are shown in separate vertical screens, which make you feel like you are in an actual fashion show. Finally, one of the greatest parts of the exhibition to me is the part where a craftswoman working at the LV workshop in France gives detailed information about the bags and answers the questions of the visitors.

Catwalk clips

 

Craftswoman from the workshop in France

Here is the link of Louis Vuitton’s official web page that gives detailed information about the exhibition if you’d like to find out more.

I hope you enjoyed my first post, would love to hear your thoughts!