Modeling started as a very practical profession.
Designers created clothes, and they needed to show how those clothes looked on people.
As the fashion industry grew and became more competitive, we saw the establishment of modeling agencies that brokered model-brand relationships and with it the rise of publicity for certain models that fit an aesthetic largely determined by the cultural or economic trends of the time.
That’s how we got fashion “It” girls like Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and Iman, who eventually led us to the supermodels of the ’80s and ’90s, when Naomi, Tyra, Cindy, and Kate became brands in their own right.
These days we’re living in a hybrid world, where anonymous faces can skyrocket to success through the power of social media while beautiful people of affluent backgrounds dominate runways and campaigns through the cult of personality.
In many ways, we’ve finally started having difficult public conversations about the importance of representation in the fashion industry.
So it begs the question: What is next in the world of modeling?
Anifa Mvuemba is the designer behind Hanifa.
In light of COVID-19, she created an entirely digital runway show unlike anything the industry has seen before.
The digital models were described as “ghosts” with no distinct features outside of their silhouettes.
Yet they still felt very representative of a woman we rarely see on the runways.
Future of Fashion is a series following Tiffany Reid, Bustle’s VP of fashion, as she interviews rule breakers in the industry who are shaking up the status quo in order to create a more inclusive and equitable future.