The era of the model-designer isn’t exactly over – we still check up on Alexa Chung now and again – but it does have a friendly new contender in town. Introducing the designer/model : a fresh new hyphenate of the industry that’s bringing fashion designers to the forefront; though this time, in a much more up, close and personal way.
This young American-born, London-based designer has radically redefined the arena of personal designing. Prior to dressing some of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Solange, Ezra Miller and Harry Styles – Reed was (and still is) the poster child for his namesake label, Harris Reed. Dramatic silhouettes, androgyny and glamorous headpieces are all cornerstones of his creations. While they effortlessly translate onto whoever he styles, Reed undeniably designs for the ethereal and avant-garde vision that his self-portraits exude.
Co-founder and designer of streetwear brand Been Trill alongside Virgil Abloh, Heron Preston’s design accolades far outweigh his (brand new) modelling credentials. In his most recent collaboration with Levi’s, Preston not only developed a one-of-a-kind capsule collection for the iconic 501 jean, but also modelled alongside Hailey Bieber in his very own designs. While there’s no word on whether Preston might model in any of his upcoming collections, he has most definitely made considerable waves with his very first attempt.
Scottish-born designer and LVMH prize nominee Charles Jeffrey has been the longstanding face of his label Loverboy since its conception in 2016. Though Jeffrey has appeared in numerous campaign and social media images for the brand, his genderless designs first made the rounds as part of his club nights – also named Loverboy – which eventually materialised into an official collection. Jeffrey’s signature creations feature bold stripes, strong, sculptural shapes and distinctive styling – painting a clear picture of the brand’s muse, one that stems from the personal style of its creator.
British designer Bobby Abley is known predominantly for his love of cartoon characters and animated, over the top renditions of pop-culture references. The result of Abley’s unabashed playfulness usually results in head-to-toe graphic looks. Think Hot Wheels flames, various Pokemons and ample inspiration from his long-time muse Christina Aguilera’s Dirty phase. Though the pop sensation plays a big part in promoting Abley’s clothes, the designer’s social media presence is a self-led fashion campaign in itself – and he wears his designs very well. Abley is truly a testament to the power of social media – because really, who needs a full-blown fashion campaign when you’ve got Instagram?
No budding phenomenon would be complete without a true OG of the game – and Dame Vivienne Westwood is certainly a trailblazer that Generation Z has borrowed from. The iconic designer has appeared in many of her own fashion campaigns, serving as the face and voice for both her designs and environmental campaigning. As a result, her name is as synonymous with her fiery red hair as it is with her political views and eccentric take on classic British tailoring. If there’s one millennial-like sentiment that Westwood echos, it’s that fashion truly is all-encompassing – so why wear just one hat?