Hot off his inaugural Fall/Winter’19 runway shows earlier this year, American designer Heron Preston is paving a path similar to that of his business partners (and posse) Virgil Abloh, Justin Saunders and Mathieu William. The co-founders of the cult streetwear brand Been Trill have each established immensely successful careers in their own right. Preston, however, has taken it a step further.

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The Parson’s menswear alumni and multi-hyphenate (DJ, fashion designer and artist) has added modelling to his Rolodex of talents. While Levi’s most recent campaign – celebrating the 146th birthday of the 501 jean – displays a one of a kind capsule collection in collaboration with Preston, it also finds him modelling his designs alongside Hailey Bieber. Decked out in a monochromatically tie-dyed, indigo wash of the 501, Preston – calm, collected and very cool – is every bit the epitome of a budding phenomenon: the designer-model (not the other way around).

The last decade has introduced a bevy of models-turned-designers but things are quickly changing. Gone are the days of the inconspicuous fashion designer. On the horizon is a long overdue nod to the multi-faceted nature of the fashion industry today and the young creatives in it. With a tight-knit circle of friends and supporters like Jaden Smith, rapper Offset and Maisie Williams, Preston’s influence is of equal measure. And while recent years have witnessed designers becoming ambassadors of their own creations (hello, Roksanda Ilincic and Rick Owens) Preston’s campaign visibility is an indication of designers leaving the comforts of ‘behind-the-scenes’ and confidently taking centerstage.

The former art director for Kanye West isn’t alone. Other young designers are picking up on modelling their own creations – or at the very least, warming up to the idea of being in front of the camera. London-based American designer Harris Reed, who has dressed the likes of Harry Styles, Solange and Ezra Miller, first caught the eye of his famous clientele by modelling and photographing himself in his own clothes. Jacquemus, though now a household name, initially played a part in the meagre beginnings of designer-modelling back in 2014. Fast forward to present day and the chiselled French
designer playfully dons his designs as part of promotional content.

The tide is turning and Preston’s campaign is just the beginning. Whether at the studio or up front and center, the designer-model is a testament to the true essence of ‘millennial-hood’. Forget choosing between one or the other, today’s creatives can truly do it all.