Fashion & Beauty / Fashion

The Kids Are Alright

A snapshot of the young, South African-based models getting ready to shake up the fashion industry in 2021 and beyond.

What makes a model is no longer simply about aesthetics, but rather someone whose beauty glows from within. These talented humans are not defined by gender, race or sexuality, but rather by the passions that have helped them carve out their own space in this world.

While much is in flux in the fashion industry, one thing is clear: the word  “model” has recaptured its original meaning. Individuals like Irma, Hannah, Matthias, Nalu, Sean, Liam and Noelle are just some of the models shining a light from within the fashion industry, serving as examples to be inspired by.

Irma, Hannah and Matthias are vocal about the world’s injustices and choose to lead by example. Irma originally hails from the French-speaking Saioua in the Ivory Coast and grew up in Abidjan. The brightness of her culture exudes from her presence. Her gentle features show nothing of the courageous work she does outside of modelling, as the creator of mon histoire compte (my story matters), an online platform that seeks to help people regain their self-confidence after sexual abuse.

Beneath Hannah’s often playful work as a model lies a skilled martial artist. She kicks all stereotypes out the conformity window and is doing her Honours in Justice and Transformation and Human Rights Law.

Matthias may be the youngest of this cohort, but there is no age restriction on beauty and strength. Shortly before venturing into the fashion world, he joined his sister Hannah’s mission for social justice. Leading a movement with other BIPOC classmates at his school last year, they removed the slave bells at the entrance of their school, a feature that was a constant reminder of South Africa’s painful history. With this bold act, he’s already changing the experience of future kids to come.

Nalu, Sean, Liam and Noelle find themselves intertwined with the arts. Under Nalu’s defined angles and brows, lies a gentle person who knows how to use their voice for good. Through jazzy, lo-fi, almost R&B soul, Nalu unravels themes of sexuality, love and womanhood. Her liberation through songs like “Lockdown Blues can be seen in the way she carries herself on set and in life.

Electric yet brooding doesn’t just describe Sean’s modelling style but also the music he creates. New to both industries, Sean is already seeing success from his work. His latest single “Office Man recently dropped with a music video by director Ky Bxshxff.  There’s no doubt that his sultry confidence and passion for the arts will get him far in this world.

For Liam, identity and history are just some of the topics that interest the young model. His looks are striking but so are his powerful words, be it through writing or rapping, and it’s clear in his portraits that much lies beneath the surface.

Based in Cape Town but no stranger to travel, Cameroon-born Noelle truly makes modelling an art. Arguably South Africa’s fashion sweetheart, in the middle of a pandemic she featured in campaigns for LVMH 2019 Winner Thebe Magugu, starred in the HIYA KIYA fashion film for Rich Mnisi presented at Vogue Talents first digital event at Milan Fashion Week, and modelled for LVMH 2020 Finalist Sindiso Khumalo. Her work ethic and undeniable magnetism are keeping her booked, with this Cameroonian queen truly putting the work in “working it.”

26 January 2021