Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld or Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton shows can often be edgy, even alternative with their use of tongue-in-cheek and subtle, and not so subtle, sexual connotations. Powerhouses of the high-fashion scene they might be, but diverse in the versatility of models? Most certainly not. With many thinking Cara Delevinge’s eyebrows caused a stir and pushed boundaries.
And with fashion being a often one size fits all industry, anything being a-typical shunned to the very back of the fashion closet, it is easy to see why our two latest favourite models, Melanie Gaydos & Chantelle Winnie, are both leading the way and taking the fashion world by storm.
Alternative modeling is unsurprisingly, a rather small niche in the fashion world, with the alternative culture only being formed in the 1950’s. This unique take on the unforgiving fashion world is one that is rejecting the narrow standards of beauty impressed upon us by the media and celebrates the unique and experimental looks of women across the world.
Melanie Gaydos is one lady who is certainly making her mark on the fashion world. Born with Ectodermal Dysplasia (a genetic disorder that effects your pores, your hair, your teeth, and your nails), and quite a severe form at that, she also battled growing up in an alcoholic family, abuse, and suicidal thoughts, yet today has been labeled “the ugliest model you’ll ever see”. Melanie unintentionally slipped into the fashion world when asked to work with a fashion photographer, and somewhat admirably fell in love with modeling, and how it made her feel.
Since then, she has continuously been the centre of shoots, building up her experience, while also remaining selective of who she poses for. Any working model will tell you just how hard that is, especially at the beginning of a modeling career. But after all, she doesn’t model to sell clothes, makeup and commercial items like most, she models to create an experience for the audience.
Even if you can’t see the beauty Melanie possesses, you can’t deny her ambition, and determination to be one the future faces of this not so diverse industry. She has also set up the ‘The What’s Underneath Project’, which asks people to take their clothes off to prove “style is not the clothes you wear”. Maybe it is the shock factor, and some argue that Melanie only can be used once. But with endless job offers rolling in, I beg to differ, and I think this is one lady we will be seeing a lot more in the seasons to come.
Chantelle Winnie, who now goes by the name Winnie Harlow, is only 19 years young, and started her career at the age of 16. Being discovered by a Toronto photographer who encouraged her to give the modelling world a shot. She began posting photos of herself, and her modelling on Instagram, which led to Tyra Banks herself catching notice of her.
She is still unsigned, yet still redefining the typical definition of beauty. Chantelle, who was diagnosed at age 4 with vitiligo, the skin condition that was made infamous by the late Michael Jackson. Some may still argue that she is entering a world that has not quite caught up with modern times in terms of race. With Jourdan Dunn being one of the only models of colour seen in high profile editorials, Chantelle defiantly has one huge mountain to climb in her career.
Cosmopolitan, Access Hollywood, Buzzfeed, The Insider and MTV all agree that Chantelle is the next IT girl. You only have to look once at her recent Vice Magazine shot to see just why this girl is so celebrated, barely noticing she has a skin condition these shots are enough to make any other model in the industry feel competitive.
So with Melanie often being labelled “the ugliest model you’ll ever see”, and Chantelle seemingly having a double battle on her hands, are these ladies going to make a impact in a world where your thighs only have to be a inch too large to be shunned? Well, we certainly think so.
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