camel duster coat BOOHOO –
lace-up sweater dress (worn as top) F21
camo skinny jeans ZARA –
lace-up booties DAYA by ZENDAYA – (similar: + )

embellished cargo jacket H&M –
striped shirt H&M –
lieutenant hat TARGET –
jeans ZARA –
over the knee boots ASOS – (similar: + )
bag MADEWELL – (similar: + )

yellow sweater H&M –
yellow skinny jeans H&M – (yellow color not online)
bag H&M – (similar: + )
snake booties STEVE MADDEN – (similar: + )

furry sleeved jacket SHEIN –
white button up shirt H&M
jeans J. CREW –
sneakers NIKE –

sequin sweater H&M –
studded skirt BOOHOO – (similar: )
bag H&M –
over the knee boots ASOS – (similar: + )

faux fur coat H&M –
jeans ASOS –
lace-up booties DAYA by ZENDAYA – (similar: + )
fedora hat ZARA MAN –

camo puffer jacket F21 –
blk turtle neck BOOHOO –
high waist khaki pants BOOHOO –
lace-up booties ASOS – (similar: )
bag MADEWELL – (similar: + )

(2) subscribers will win a $100 H&M or Zara gift card (your choice) to help you get winter ready! To enter to win simply comment your must-have clothing items for fall + winter on this video and/or on my Instagram photo posted today 11/8 announcing the lookbook. One winner chosen from this video and one from IG. Closes Monday 11/13 11:59pm CST. Winners chosen at random and posted ((here)) on Tuesday 11/14.

winners- Courtanie Sanders + s_chrome7 on IG

SNAPCHAT: chicisnatural

Music: Mario Ayuda – Keep Going [Concordia Recordings]



Gucci Padlock GG Supreme – small
Chanel Classic Flap – medium
Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 30
Chloe Drew – small, grey
Chanel WOC
Chloe Pixie – small, red
H&M black bag (similar style) –
Strathberry MC Nano bag –
Shein tweed box bag –
Shein maroon quilted bag –

On My Nails – Essie ‘Satin Sister’

SNAPCHAT: chicisnatural

I’m giving (2) $50 H&M gift cards to 2 lucky subscribers so you can pick up a bag (or anything you’d like) for yourself! To enter to win simply comment any item you would add to your wardrobe. Giveaway closes Thurs 12/7/17 @ 11:59p PST. Winners chosen at random and posted ((here)) Friday 12/8.


What I Wore | WEEKEND OUTFITS (lookbook)

Hey guys I’m back with another lookbook! Hope you like! Which look would you rock?


L O O K 1
top – avec les filles (similar: )
jeans – madewell
shoes – charlotte russe (similar:
glasses – amazon
initial necklace – amazon
bag – gucci

L O O K 2
top – zara
shorts – akira
shoes – ash
glasses – amazon
bag – gucci

L O O K 3
blazer – shein
tee – h&m
pants – boohoo (similar: + )
shoes – shein
glasses – quay
bag – chloe (similar: )

L O O K 4
top – forever 21
striped pants – h&m
bag – shein (similar:
shoes – marc fisher
glasses – quay

L O O K 5
jumpsuit – h&m
bag – shein
shoes – marc fisher
glasses – quay

L O O K 6
tie waist top – h&m (similar: + )
shorts – h&m
shoes – lulu’s
glasses – amazon
bracelet – j. crew
bag – chloe (similar: )

INSTAGRAM: @thechicnatural
SNAPCHAT: chicisnatural


10 Essential WARDROBE BASICS for BOMB Outfits!

Hey everyone! Today I’m here with my top 10 essential wardrobe basics picks that are a must for your closet!


black MANGO jeans –
medium wash J CREW toothpick jeans
white H&M tee shirt – (similar : )
white H&M button up shirt – (similar: + )
black H&M blazer
brown SHEIN cropped moto jacket –
black ZARA cross body bag
black CHARLOTTE RUSSE single strap heel –
nude LULU’S single strap heel – ( similar: )
black CONVERSE sneakers –
gold MARC JACOBS watch – (similar: )
silver rimless aviator sunglasses – (similar : )


DIVASWIGS.COM Brazilian virgin full lace unit –
(worn in natural state, no product applied)
Item code: bhc279, 18”, 150% density, light brown lace, cap-3


One lucky subscriber will win a $100 gift card to help you get your wardrobe basics and step out in style! To enter simply leave the number “10” at the end of any comment on this video. Closes Tuesday 4/11/17 @ 11:59p PST. Winner chosen at random and posted ((here)) on Wednesday.


INSTAGRAM: @thechicnatural
SNAPCHAT: chicisnatural


Summer Dresses and Winter Coats: The Next Big Trend

One of the more depressing aspects of dressing for winter is bidding a temporary farewell to your collection of summer dresses and not seeing them again for approximately seven whole months if you live anywhere that’s not blissfully warm all year.

Lately though, I’m more and more convinced it’s not really necessary to put dresses that traditionally would be considered off-season into storage, thanks to some of the most stylish women on earth—actresses Priyanka Chopra and Dakota Johnson, and street-style MVP Veronika Heilbrunner among them—who have stepped out recently wearing unapologetically summery dresses paired with a big old winter coat and the outcome is surprisingly modern.

Here, a few tricks for pulling this off yourself.

PHOTO: Getty Images

1. Mix textures.

The key to nailing this trend is to make sure that you’re mixing textures, so don’t be afraid to pair a chiffon summer dress with a bulky shearling or a silky floral slip dress with an oversized wool military coat. The end result that comes from wearing a warm-weather piece of clothing with something that’s meant specifically for chilly temperatures will make this outfit feel, in a word, cool.

PHOTO: Getty Images

2. Don’t be afraid to go really seasonal.

Have a summer dress in the back of your closet that you normally reserve for places like the beach or for scorching hot days? Even that (with the right accessories) can work in the winter. If you’d prefer not to show excess skin, layer a turtleneck underneath.

3. Break out your boots.

Mixing a floaty dress with a solid pair of boots is one of the easiest ways to nail the styling aspect of the trend. Over-the-knee suede boots, ankle boots, chunky lug soles—anything goes.


PHOTO: Getty Images

4. Don’t be afraid of color.

Yes, you’re getting dressed in the middle of the winter, but resisting the urge to only wear black is what makes this trend stand out. Pastels, primary brights, stripes, florals—they all work, despite dated fashion “rules.”


PHOTO: Timur Emek/Getty Images

5. Top off your look with winter accessories.

To drive home the point that this look was, indeed, intentional and not a case of season-rushing, finish off your outfit with appropriate accessories like a slouchy beanie, an oversized scarf, or even a pair of jeans underneath. Besides scoring style points, you’ll also probably make your mom happy you bundled up. After all, it’s cold out there.

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Pregnant Amal Clooney Steps Out Looking Chic After George Confirms Twins

George Clooney and his wife Amal are expecting twins, a pleasant bit of celebrity news that had the distinct honor of being the second most noteworthy double pregnancy announcement this month. Still, it’s a safe bet that the level of interest around the Oscar-winning actor and human rights attorney’s every waking move from now until the “they’re here!” headlines will be furiously scrutinized.

First up: Amal’s pregnancy style. The world has been enamored with the 39-year-old’s polished approach to dressing since she first started getting photographed with America’s most steadfast bachelor in 2013, so keeping an eye on what she wears while expecting—coupled with our collective obsession with what any star puts on their bodies while with child—will probably become a national pastime.

On Tuesday, Amal was photographed in London wearing a lipstick-red overcoat, black leggings, a gray sweater, moto boots, and a fringed bag—what some might consider her first official “look” since hubby George confirmed the news, and it was predictably chic.

PHOTO: Splash News

Rumor has it the new family might be putting down roots in New York City (reports last fall speculated that the stars snapped up a $14.7 million apartment in a new a luxury condo building in Midtown East) but nothing has been confirmed yet. Still, if it’s true, we can probably look forward to Amal’s pregnancy style remaining pretty much unchanged—her sophisticated aesthetic not only suits the city, but also the fact that she’s an accomplished and respected career woman, who will be lecturing at Columbia Law School this spring.

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Ashley Biden's New Sweatshirt Line Livelihood Is Style With a Social Conscience

Ashley Biden—as in former Vice President Joe Biden’s daughter—really didn’t have a choice but to go into public service, as she tells it.

“The passion started at a very young age,” Biden told us. “My dad is a lifelong public servant; my mom was a public-school teacher—it’s in my DNA.”

And that meant Biden got her start early. “When I was a kid, I always really loved animals, and I found out that Bonne Bell lip gloss was testing on animals, so I organized my school to start writing letters to [the company],” she says. “Then I became obsessed with the plight of dolphins getting stuck in tuna nets. My dad connected me with Congressman Barbara Boxer who I nicknamed the ‘dolphin lady’ and she got me onto to the floor to help lobby Republican congressman for The Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act.”

From there, Biden says her interest grew to a focus on social justice and “the unfairness people experience through education opportunities.”


Ashley Biden was joined by mom Jill and dad Joe at the brand’s New York launch earlier this month.

PHOTO: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Cut to adulthood, and Biden has 15 years of experience fighting for social equality under her belt and is currently the executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice.

“Every day is really powerful,” Biden says of her work. “Last night one of the case managers got someone a job out of prison, and she went at nine ‘o’clock at night to get him a uniform for his new job, and snapped a photo of him just looking so proud to be back to work and in that uniform. The work we are doing is impacting real people.”

Ashley Biden in Livelihood

PHOTO: Courtesy of Livelihood

Included in Biden’s hectic schedule is one of her favorite parts of the job, she says — teaching classes to inmates, including one on the science behind substance abuse (in fact, Biden hopped on the phone with Glamour having just left prison teaching a class).

“We focus on neurobiology of the brain and how it relates to addiction. I asked the women in the class, ‘What have you guys been taught before?’ And they said everything they’ve really ever been informed about is side effects from medications. Well, that’s not getting to the root cause.”

While Biden is keeping her day job, she has a new passion project, a line of sweatshirts called Livelihood, that marries two of her favorite things – fashion and social work.


Biden’s hoodie collection

PHOTO: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Sold exclusively on Gilt, the unisex line is made in the U.S. and priced between $79 and $99. Most importantly: All proceeds go toward supporting local charitable causes. Initially, funds will go to education, workplace development and job placement initiatives in Wilmington Delaware (where Biden was born) and Anacostia in the District of Columbia (where Biden got her start as a social worker), but she has her sights set on expanding from there.

“The most effective social programs are in local communities,” she says. “They know best where funding should go.”

To the same tune, Biden is eager to get more people involved in local politics, which is why she started the interactive website

“We have to create more awareness around the importance of civic participation,” she says. “Oftentimes we go out and vote during the presidential races, but then stay home during the local elections. We need to figure out in the coming weeks and months how to get people to understand governance better. People talk a lot about apathy, but I think it has more to do with knowledge about how the government works. I wish there was an easy way to explain to people why it’s just as important vote in city council races as it is for the president. These people are the CEOs of our lives.”

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The Full Story Behind Lingua Franca's 'I Miss Barack' Sweaters

In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential win, the protest t-shirt and political fashion items have become a legitimate fashion trend, with women proudly voicing their opinions on everything from immigration to reproductive rights on a T-shirt. But it isn’t just tees getting all the play, as knitwear label Lingua Franca has seen firsthand thanks to the demand for its cashmere sweaters embroidered with messages like “I Miss Barack” and “We Are All Immigrants.”

The brand’s founder, Rachel Hruska, who also launched the website Guest of a Guest, started Lingua Franca—which now counts Leonardo DiCaprio and Christy Turlington as fans and is stocked at high-end retailers including Net-a-Porter and Saks—one weekend when she was looking for something to do with her hands. “Read: away from iPhone,” she said.

Lingua Franca sweater

PHOTO: Courtesy of Lingua Franca

“I learned how to sew from my grandmother when I was a little girl, but I hadn’t picked up a needle in more than a decade,” she told us. “I picked up a sweater and embroidered ‘booyah’ on it. I put it on Instagram and friends started requesting some of their own.”

And from there, that afternoon spent embroidering hip-hop phrases onto sweaters turned into a passion project and growing business for Hruska. “I knew if I was going to start another company, it was going to have to be something I really loved…I love that the craft of embroidery has historically been a women’s craft. I think there’s a very deliberate but underlying feministic message at play.”

Hruska started the line embroidering on vintage sweaters, but because of demand is now producing her own. And while Lingua Franca was originally in homage to 1990s hip-hop lyrics with sweaters embroidered with messages including “forever ever” and “I think I love you baby,” following the election, Hruska felt compelled to expand the message of the line.

Lingua Franca sweater

Lingua Franca sweater

PHOTO: Courtesy of Lingua Franca

“I never intended to put political statements on these sweaters,” she said. “After the election, the mood among our embroiderers was dismal to say the least. We have over 45 women sewing [the sweaters’ slogans by hand] and many are immigrants, a few are from Iran and have been separated from their families. There had been more than a couple of days when people have broken down in tears in the office. I felt helpless. I think we all did. It became clear to me that we all have a voice and that we all can use that voice to make a statement.”

For the Women’s March rallies in late January, Hruska created a special “I Miss Barack” sweater with all proceeds going to the charity of the customer’s choosing, and the response was immediate.

Lingua Franca Sweater

PHOTO: Courtesy of Lingua Franca

“Someone purchases, gives half to charity, and also helps employ an amazing woman embroiderer,” she says. “So far we have raised over $10,000 and counting” she says with money so far having gone to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Everytown for Gun Safety, and more.

“I think people are outraged, and they want to do whatever they can — even purchasing a sweater — to combat the disgusting administration we have in office currently,” she says of why her sweaters emblazoned with messages now including “power to the peaceful” and “where’s the outrage” have caught on.

Now that Lingua Franca has a political message, Hruska has no intention of slowing it down. “Sadly every day Trump and his cronies seem to do something that results in a new sweater saying,” she says. In other words, there will be many more calls to action to come from Lingua Franca so stay tuned.

Lingua Franca is available on Net-a-Porter and by special order at

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Beyoncé Wore a $22,000 Gucci Kimono to the NBA All-Star Game

Beyoncé‘s always been an all-star when it comes to her maternity style game, and her last two major looks haven’t let us down: When she first announced she was having twins, she donned an Agent Provocateur Lorna scalloped underwired bra and sheer veil. Shortly after, she took the stage at the Grammys and left us breathless in a gilded Peter Dundas custom gown and headdress.

Now, Beyoncé is at it again. She and Jay-Z sat courtside on Sunday at the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, and her look definitely made a statement. Queen B dressed like many of us do for a game—distressed jeans, stilettos, white tee—but kicked it up a (major) notch with an extravagant printed silk Gucci kimono from the S/S ’17 collection. She accessorized the $21,945 robe, embroidered with tigers and tropical plants, with a $450 Gucci fan. So glam.

Blue Ivy, who sat in between her famous parents, complemented her mom’s look by sporting a chartreuse Gucci dress, denim jacket, and Chuck Taylor kicks.

Here’s a view of the kimono from the side:


Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

PHOTO: Jonathan Bachman

It’s pretty standard to wear distressed denim and a tee to a sporting event, but consider us reminded: adding a statement piece to the simplest outfit—even if it’s just a pair of earrings—is a great way to get some major style points. Even if it’s not a $22,000 kimono.

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Meet 6 People Pushing to Make Fashion Week More Inclusive

With everything going on in the world, it would be fair to say that Fashion Week might not seem like the most pressing topic to be writing about. Sitting in a room with a lot of privileged people looking at runway fashion—however beautiful—felt trivial at best, and tone-deaf at worst. Still, even in a time of unrest, the world of Fashion Week has the potential to shape perspectives; it reflects who we are and how we express ourselves. (And no woman should ever feel guilty for wanting to look at beautiful things.)

Then amid the snow and sludge this February, something awesome happened: Fashion got woke.

While protesters gathered in Washington Square to speak up for women’s and immigrants’ rights, designers got political, feminists advocated for better treatment of models, curls were celebrated—not straightened—and the runways got much more diverse. (This season, the runways in New York saw more models over size 12 than ever before. Slow. Clap.)

Of course, there remains work to be done. Much like the growing movement to make Hollywood more representative, fashion as a whole, too, needs to better reflect the people it serves. That’s where these six revolutionaries come in.

We teamed up with photographer Alex Sweterlitsch of the wildly popular Instagram Fashion Instant to bring you a snapshot of a few insiders leading the charge. Change might not happen overnight, but we’re on our way.

PHOTO: @FashionInstant/Alex Sweterlitsch


Hollie Schliftman

By now, Christian Siriano’s shows have become a hallmark of diversity at New York Fashion Week. And while Siriano is of course a force of change, the person behind the inclusive castings is actually his casting director, Hollie Schliftman. “People are responding so well to the shows,” she says. “They are still talking about Christian’s show from last season. Still!”

Schliftman has worked with major clients like H&M, Uniqlo, and Dolce & Gabbana, but it’s Siriano who’s truly making her voice heard. “Christian likes to push boundaries and take things to a different level. Why not appeal to different kinds of markets? Why can’t all women feel like they have the opportunity to wear his clothes?” If her sentiments sound familiar, it’s because Schliftman and Siriano are on the same wavelength when it comes to diversifying the fashion space. “I really try not to follow the ‘normal’ fashion road,” says Siriano. “I’m trying to showcase, on the runway and in the front row, that fashion is for everyone and we should celebrate as many women as we can.”

The two make changing Fashion Week seem like a breeze, but for them it kind of is. “I don’t think we have had many [challenges],” says Siriano. “Maybe just that being different or trying new things takes the viewer some getting use to.” Adds Schliftman: “He does yell at me like, ‘Did we just see 400 girls?’ But I do that to him every season.”

So why does something like runway casting matter so much? The obvious reason is that fashion shows are no longer shown to just a smattering of editors in a private New York venue; they’re live-streamed on the Internet—and since people around the world are now absorbing fashion’s aspirational images by tuning in, it’s important to represent the world as it actually is. In Schliftman’s words: “Casting has everything to do with how a viewer feels when they watch a show. They are there for the garments, styling, and fashion, but the takeaway for them is how they relate to the runway. Seeing women of all body shapes and ethnicities helps women to visualize themselves in the process.” —L.C.



Iskra Lawrence

“Why can’t I be me and walk in Fashion Week?” asks size-14 model Iskra Lawrence. If her name sounds familiar, it’s likely because you’ve seen the game-changing, Photoshop-banning, curve-embracing model as @iskra on Instagram. While she’s had major success on the social platform (with 3.2 million followers to prove it!) and as a spokesmodel for Aerie, one place she’d been previously iced out is on the runway.

Before the spring 2017 season, the last time she was part of Fashion Week was 11 years ago—and suffice it to say that it didn’t go so well. “I was 15, and I walked only one show,” Lawrence says. “I remember being backstage and nothing fit. The stylist was like, ‘You’re too fat. Why are you here?’ Up until last year I thought if I ever wanted to do that again I would have to lose weight.” She was wrong.

Last season Lawrence walked in Chromat’s show, which marked her first time on a New York Fashion Week runway at her natural weight. And for fall 2017 shows, she did one better and walked for Chromat and Christian Siriano. Come next season, she’s set a goal to be part of the Coach and DKNY runways, since those brands are on the radar of her loyal followers. “I’m always strategizing,” she says. “I want to work with brands—like I did with Aerie—to connect with their consumer and get their sales up. I don’t just want to be in a photo or on the runway, I want to help.

Her driving force, of course, is the fan base of young women watching her career. “There’s a trickle-down effect,” Lawrence says. “Fashion is completely connected into our subconscious, into our daily decision of how we present ourselves to the world.” And because her followers are connected to her via social media, she can see exactly how her work resonates with them. “When I posted that picture of me walking in Chromat, the amount of comments that I got from girls saying, ‘Holy crap, you got to walk in Fashion Week? People are doing that now? They’re accepting you?’ was huge. I want every single person to wake up every day grateful for the body they have and celebrate by dressing how they want—if seeing me on the runway helps, then I’ve done my job.” Can she get an amen? —L.C.

PHOTO: @FashionInstant/Alex Sweterlitsch


Becca McCharen-Tran

If you’ve been following Chromat’s New York Fashion Week shows, you know what to expect by now: an opening performance (this season’s was by Uniiqu3), a wicked soundtrack by Discwoman, and a whole lot of diversity on the runway. “I think it’s strange that so many shows are only skinny white women,” says Becca McCharen-Tran, the label’s designer. “We as fashion designers have a platform and an opportunity to open up the narrow standard of beauty. I feel like it’s my responsibility to show and celebrate women of all different shapes, races, genders, and abilities.”

Specifically, McCharen-Tran leads the fashion pack in gender inclusivity, with five transgender or gender-nonconforming models in her fall 2017 lineup. “As someone in the queer community, I’m surrounded by all different genders—androgynous tomboy girls to trans women all the way to high-femme boys—and I want to encourage more people to live their truth,” she says. She’s also ahead of most when it comes to the inclusion of larger sizes. And while many designers cite not having big enough samples as an excuse for not using bigger models, she puts money behind developing plus sizes from the get-go. “For us to have people that are above a size 10 on the runway, we make different patterns for each of them,” she explains. “That means double the patterns, double the samples, and double all the costs as well. But it’s worth it.”

It’s clear that McCharen-Tran’s forward stance on inclusivity is rare in the fashion industry; so where does one get such a genuine commitment to the cause? Personal experience. “Growing up not being represented in fashion makes you feel like ‘Is there something wrong with me? Why don’t people look like me on the runway? Maybe I should change.’” she says. “And I think that can be really dangerous.” Now Chromat is ever focused on preventing people from being harmfully affected by fashion’s exclusivity. “I felt like I needed to change the industry so I wouldn’t be feeding its cycle of negativity that makes people feel bad,” says McCharen-Tran. “I have to take a stand, be vocal, and fight for what I believe in.” —L.C.

PHOTO: @FashionInstant/Alex Sweterlitsch


Leomie Anderson

For all the steps designers have taken to make runways more diverse, backstage has largely stayed the same. Which is to say hair and makeup teams are really, really white. This Leomie Anderson can—and will—tell you all about. “Why is there more white makeup artists backstage than black when black ones can do ALL races [sic] makeup?” she shared in a series of tweets last year about the disparity. She followed up with, “Why is it that the black makeup artists are busy with blonde white girls and slaying their makeup and I have to supply my own foundation.” Why, indeed?

Since then, things haven’t gotten much better. “That was just one of many times where I’ve had to go to the toilet and redo my makeup,” Anderson says. Of course, that’s only a small part of her concerns. What’s greater to her is that young women feel represented the way they want. “When I was younger, I used to have this anxiety if my hair or my makeup was done incorrectly,” she says. “I never wanted to speak up, because when a black girl speaks up, you’re a ‘diva.’ Do you know how many situations I’ve been in where artists have said, ‘Well, I’ve done Naomi Campbell’s hair….’ It shouldn’t be that if you know how to do her hair, you can do mine. You never hear people say, ‘Well, I’ve done Kate Moss’s hair,’ to a white girl.”

If some of the most talented pros in the world can’t get it right backstage, it sets a poor tone for the rest of society, Anderson argues. “It’s great to see that things are changing and diversity is being accepted,” she says. “We just need more education and conversation.”

Putting herself to task, Anderson recently started her own fashion brand, LAPP (Leomie Anderson the Project the Purpose), which is grounded in intersectional feminism. The word’s getting out fast: Rihanna wore one of her pieces to the Women’s March! Anderson also launched a blog for writers to discuss everything from fashion to race and mental health issues. “There are so many people who have something to say,” she says. “I want to give them a platform.”

As for what’s next? “I’d love to become an ambassador for a makeup brand,” Anderson says. “But I’d be more than just the face. I’d use it to speak up about the beauty industry and work to make sure every young girl can walk into a makeup store and find her shade. Literally, if that’s all I accomplish, it’d make me happy.” —L.S.

PHOTO: @FashionInstant/Alex Sweterlitsch


Avie Acosta

When Avie Acosta moved to New York City from Oklahoma last year, she was 19, had a love for fashion, and never aimed to be a poster child for gender identity. Rather, she felt empowered by the artistic license that came with being in front of the camera. “I loved fashion in the sense that I’d go and shop at Goodwill, but it was never part of the culture for me to look at runway shows,” she says. “It was more about me wanting to create my own fantasies with someone and then seeing those images and the art come to life.”

Then her dream of being a model came true. Acosta was signed to Wilhelmina’s men’s board and made headlines for her nonconforming editorials. But, while more representation of the LGBQT community in mainstream media is unquestionably a good thing, it also comes at price. Models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are asked about their fashion or beauty choices, but the discussion with trans folks often centers around just that—their being transgender. “It feels crass,” as Acosta puts it, citing how people’s identities have been turned to click-bait.

What’s more, though, Acosta hopes the way we label fashion and beauty choices as a whole becomes less gendered. “Fashion says nothing about your gender,” she says. “Fashion is not going to liberate anyone’s gender—that’s within yourself.” To put it in context, she offers this analogy: When you’re a woman at home in sweatpants and a big hoodie, nobody is questioning your identity. You’re not suddenly “masculine” because you’re in sweats. You’re just you, but comfortable. The same should go for any other kind of expression, be it clothing or makeup, she says.

Now Acosta’s just focusing on doing her: her art, her work as a model, and her life as DJ (she hosts a weekly party called Who Isn’t She?). “I just got to a point where I took back the power,” she says of the narrative constructed around her. “I stopped giving people the power to influence what I’m wearing and what I’m doing, who I’m going out with, and how I’m talked about.”

“I’m just being looked at as a person,” she says. “That’s all I ever wanted.” —L.S.

PHOTO: @FashionInstant/Alex Sweterlitsch


Sara Ziff

Fact: The average career of a fashion model lasts five years. Also fact: Sara Ziff is an exception. In 2012 the former model launched the Model Alliance, a labor advocacy group for models working in the American fashion industry, and made major news in 2013, when she pushed New York State to make a enact ensuring child models would be covered by the state’s labor law. Now she’s going after Fashion Week, with the company’s #DearNYFW campaign, which calls for members of the industry to put models’ health first—preferably in the form of another law. “It wasn’t until I became an advocate in the industry that I felt a sense of purpose or even belonging,” she says.

#DearNYFW started with a study in which the Model Alliance found that 81 percent of models have body-mass indexes that are underweight; 62 percent of models have been asked to lose weight by their agency; and 21 percent of models were told their agency would stop representing them unless they lost weight. “It’s a little bit like announcing that water is wet,” says Ziff. “But now we actually have some data to work with.” To her that data proves “that models work in an industry which requires them to lose weight as a prerequisite for employment.” She adds: “That is coercive and dangerous. We really need to look at this not just as a labor issue for the models but also as a public health issue. People working in other industries have laws that protect them from harm.”

The campaign also features an open letter signed by 100 models and influencers that calls the industry to action. “Whether you’re a photographer, editor, designer, casting director, or an agent, we’re pushing you to make health a priority at Fashion Week,” the letter goes, “and for the industry to celebrate diversity of age, race, ethnicity, size, and gender status.” And though 100 isn’t a small number, their actual reach is much bigger. “Between us, we have millions of followers on social media,” says Ziff. “It might be the first time models have gathered together to spur consumer activism via their social media channels. Our approach is to act collectively. We’re so much stronger as a group.” —L.C.

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