Why NYFW’s Trans Casting Is More Than A Trend

Vejas AW 2015
Andrej and Andreja Pejic for Elle Serbia.
Andrej and Andreja Pejic for Elle Serbia

It’s easy to draw parallels with other high profile media portrayals of trans people, but what happened at NYFW felt different, perhaps more distinctly DIY than when Barney’s cast trans models in their 2014 campaign, or when Laverne Cox landed the cover of TIME. Instead, it was about young designers saying: these are our friends, we’re giving them representation because this is the actual world we live in. What makes attending a Vejas, Chromat or Gypsy Sport show spiritually energising is that it’s a celebration of real cultures and communities; they are genuine affairs that promote unity, respect and inclusion – much unlike the endless parades of homogenised mannequins walking up and down countless fashion week runways. “At some shows, I look and it’s all pale, blonde, white women and I mean, that’s not representative of our culture today,” says Chromat’s casting director Gilleon Smith. “Becca (McCharen, Chromat’s designer) is like, ‘Let’s make a difference, let’s make it fresh’ and then you have other designers who are extremely stagnant in their aesthetic.”

Read more here on Dazed Digital.

Lea T (second from right) in the Givenchy AW10 campaign. Image courtesy of Givenchy
Lea T (second from right) in the Givenchy AW10 campaign. Image courtesy of Givenchy

This is one of the many reasons why we love fashion. The industry, most of the time, is a trailblazer. What we’re afraid of, though, is that this might be a fad and then they will revert back to a white plain bland blonde army. 

When we wrote about our opinion regarding New York Fashion Week: Men, we were thinking out loud on what New York’s identity could be. We joked about it being “commercial”.  However, if this movement is to be embraced as a fully fleshed out identity, New York can be known for its’ diversity. It is only natural that diversity is closely associated with the Big Apple. 

Wouldn’t it be magical if clothes on the runway could reflect the people of the world regardless of the colour of their skin, different body size, shape, or gender?

Actress Hari Nef elegantly summed up this movement for us:

“Fashion is having a moment with gender fluidity, but not necessarily transness. Designers are presenting masculinity as an option for women and vice versa. That’s not ontology, that’s aesthetics, but transness goes deeper than that. Transness is not a destination.”