The Muse: Meet rising model and zine queen to know Chanel Taylor

FKA twigs is a big fan.

[W]hen it comes to real diversity, fashion’s often fallen behind. Slowly, as we begin to confront the lack of representation on the runway, changes are being made to insure inclusivity is not just a passing trend. The face of the future? Meet 22-year-old model, London College of Fashion student and YouTuber, Chanel Taylor (otherwise known by her Instagram handle @ChanellyGirl). Though currently not signed with a modelling agency, the rising Insta-girl to follow has been cast in multiple projects celebrating black beauty from the new Black Panther zine to FKA twigs’ Instagram magazine AVANTgarden.

“AVANTgarden was one of my favourite projects,” Taylor tells Hunger. “The zine focuses on black braiding hair styles. I was able to talk about my childhood getting my hair braided and how hairstyles are done in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana, which is where I’m from. This was really special for me because I think there is so much diversity in black hair that isn’t shown in fashion.” We caught up with the one-to-watch to talk warriors, representation and Diana Ross…

"I love Diana Ross. Most recently I’ve grown to appreciate the effort she put in her outfits. I think this is because my generation are more into effortless style and she’s the total opposite."

Hi Chanel! How did you get into modelling? Has fashion always been a passion of yours?

I was scouted for Men’s Fashion Week for the Nasir Mazhar show and initially I never thought I could be a model because of my height so I was surprised to be cast for the show. Since then I had much interest from casting directs through Instagram. Since then, I have modelled in Paris for Fashion Week for designers like Koche as well as Nike, Xaoi Li, Katie Eary [and] Minki. But my favourite so far is working with Marques Almeida and being an MA girl. This has been my third season walking for them and it’s so fun every time. I love the ethos of the brand and all the girls they pick are amazing strong women. I always had an passion for fashion (my go to Bratz doll quote). It sounds cliche but since I was about 10 I wanted to be fashion designer so I would make clothes for my dolls and style their hair.

How did it feel to be part of the new Black Panther zine? What was the ethos behind this shoot?

I was so honoured to be part of that. As soon as I heard about the movie I wanted to be involved – I remember about a year before the movie came out I put it on my vision board. So I was so happy being a big Marvel fan to have been given the opportunity to be involved in the zine. The idea was wakandan street style; all the guys and girls they picked had a character name. They all represent powerful unapologetic black people. And people that are proud of their culture and identity. I really liked the idea of female warriors.

Who is your forever style icon?

I ❤️ Diana Ross. Most recently I’ve grown to appreciate the effort she put in her outfits. I think this is because my generation are more into effortless style and she’s the total opposite. Her look is so over the top and glamourous. I’m west African and she reminds me of my aunties and how they love so much glitzs and glam in their outfits.

 

 

Do you think there is more diversity and inclusivity in fashion now?

I think there has been some progression, but I often feel like it’s still not enough. And some times the intention with diversity isn’t always good – some brands just cast diverse models because they understand recently how much money can be made. Hopefully diversity isn’t just a trend but a normality within fashion. I think that’s the idea that should be pushed. Not looking at models or influences from the same angle but understanding and appreciating the uniqueness with in each model.

How would you describe your personal style? Are there any younger/emerging fashion brands you’re really excited about?

Animated, girly and sporty.

My clothing choice always starts off depending how my hair is. I’m really obsessed with wigs and playing around with different looks. I mostly shop vintage because I love finding unique pieces that no one has. My favourite style pieces is oversized blazers and most recently I’ve been into renaissance corset tops styled with 90s denim Levi’s and skinny glasses. I often like to be quite girly but add some masculine elements to my look. Over the past year I got many of my hair inspiration from female cartoons characters that had colourful hair. I really like labels like I.AM.GIA, Fortie label and Ottolinger.

 

How would you describe your relationship with social media?

I would say love and hate. I love being able to connect with a wide range of people and finding people I can relate to; the opportunities; discovering new things and how it’s helped my career by being able to showcase all my hobbies on one platform. [But] I think being on social media all the time has a negative impact too so I try to turn off my social media in the evenings. Some times I feel like it clouds my influences – I often feel like I enjoy the influences of the everyday world. Also you can get into a cycle of comparing your career journey or yourself  to others forgetting that most people post the best version of themselves – it isn’t an authentic reality.

 

"Hopefully diversity isn’t just a trend but a normality within fashion."

Your top Instagram must-follows?

@sitabellan – she’s one of my top inspirations in her style and her career.

@willsmith – so uplifting positive and so so funny.

@grey93/@gelbsy – both cool 90s millennium throw back fashion I try to often recreate looks I find on this page.

@theshaderoom – guilty pleasure of celebrity gossip.

What would you like to see less of online?

Less internet trolls and judgmental people.

What would you like to see more of online?

More positivity and people encouraging each other. More people living their truth showcasing different aspects of their lives authentically. Platforms promoting encouragement and the idea of bringing people together to create positive energy.

You can follow Chanel on Instagram @chanellygirl.