New Zealand Fashion Week is just two weeks away and Spy hears there is a call from big name Kiwi designers for diversity at this weekend’s model casting calls.
“This year we are getting requests from designers like Zambesi and Huffer for diversity, which is amazing,” Andrea Plowright from 62 Models told Spy.
“Many fashion-forward designers want to see models who are Asian, black, Indian, transgender, mature etc. which I think is fantastic! There are no limits and no boundaries which is wonderful to see and be involved in. We live in a global world and we all want to see equality and fairness.”
If there is a star of this trend it will be in the form of beautiful transgender model Manahou Mackay, 18, who is picked to light up the catwalk for a number of designers.
“Manahou has only recently joined 62 and she has already been called out on a number of castings. I think Fashion Week will be her moment to break into the industry big time,” said Plowright.
In March, New York-based Australian transgender supermodel Andreja Pejic walked for Smith & Caughey��s in Auckland and left an impression on Mackay.
“It was a major modelling moment for me meeting Andreja, she is an inspiration to me in so many ways,” Mackay told Spy.
“I’d love to use modelling as a way to travel and see the world. I’d also like to help people view transgender people as just normal.
“Transgender is not the classic porn-star Barbie and not the drag-queen look. We’re just normal humans. And we do not need to be sexualised to be understood and accepted.”
Lauri Watt and Manahou MacKay.
Fashion Week founder and director Dame Pieter Stewart is right behind the move, telling Spy: “Long gone are the days where models are typecast to fit a certain, now-outdated standard. They are as unique as the many different designers and their collections showcased at the event. Fashion is about variety and diversity, and New Zealand Fashion Week is the platform that encompasses all of this.”
Other models who break the traditional look this year could include Fiona Xu, who has shot for Harman Grubisa and Kate Sylvester; Sophia Frankish, a universal favourite; Lincoln Van Vught; Grace Huan, who is also a dancer; Lauri Watt and Horace Lee.
On the celebrity front, Boston Ridge will be back on the catwalk and has made big strides in the industry since his debut last year. But he may be usurped by another famous offspring — actor Robbie Magasiva’s 195cm son Austin, whom we are told by Red 11 will not just wow on the catwalk but has very big things lined up on the acting and campaign front.