As one of the most in demand faces of the moment Ashley Graham is experiencing a career defining fashion moment of epic proportions. Fresh work with Carine Roitfeld, an appearance on Elle Quebec‘s best-selling cover and best of all her very own lingerie collection, Ashley is making a splash in and out of fashion. MDC catches up with the enterprising Ashley to talk new work, the changing face of the modeling business and why she’s delving into the world of design.
J: When did you start modeling? I feel like we’ve been seeing you in magazines forever.
ASHLEY GRAHAM: I’ve been modeling since I was twelve – I probably got my first paycheck at thirteen. It was in Nebraska and I had to model a see-thru bra. My mom had to sign a waiver to make sure that they would airbrush my nipples out. I was plus size already.
Then Wilhelmina found me when I was around 14 or so and later, Ford around 15 and I was there until the end of their plus size division. I’m 26 now and I’ve been with IMG since January.
What they’re doing at IMG is very different.
AG: It’s totally different. I get phone calls at 8:00 at night telling me, “You have a casting at Vogue tomorrow…” and it’s like, “okay, thank you!” It’s just completely different! Different clients – I mean, I still have kept a lot of the same clients which is amazing, but it’s a different territory. I’m seeing major magazines, photographers, art directors. It’s been fantastic. I’m really happy. And I’m happy that they put us all on the same board! Which has just been great – no division!
Definitely, that is such a shift in the way things are done.
AG: It’s about time!
Definitely. You open up a magazine and you see a plus size model, you see a shorter model – those old divisions aren’t as prevalent as they used to be.
AG: No, it’s really changing.
How are you enjoying all this exciting new work?
AG: How could you not love it? First of all, the industry is changing which is so exciting. Because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve seen so much change. You can tell it’s not a fad. This is something that’s here to stay. Curvy women, women that are in-between the straight size and the plus size, opening up doors just for all different shapes, sizes, races, even genders now! It’s exciting to be a part of that in the fashion industry right now and say that I am a part of it.
What would you say are some exciting things that you’ve been working on. Either that you’ve just finished doing, or that you have coming out soon.
AG: Elle Quebec cover just came out, so exciting! They called me and they said, “We want to put you on the cover.” It was just instant it wasn’t even a question. I was like, “What is going on!? Okay, great!!” Harper’s Bazaar is out right now with Carine Roitfeld; that was her first beauty story for Bazaar so that was awesome. Carine is such a sweetheart, I love her she’s so nice. I’ve been meeting some really cool photographers and now that IMG and WME (William Morris Entertainment) merged, a lot of TV things have been popping up which is really exciting.
That’s really cool, I’m happy to hear that! Is there anything that you haven’t done just yet that you’d be really excited to do?
AG: I haven’t shot an editorial for Vogue yet – I would love to do that! I think that would be incredible! Not even for their Shape Issue – just a normal editorial with a plus sized model, or whatever you want to call us.
J: It’s such a weird term because, how do you really describe it.
AG: I just did an interview where they asked “what do you think of the word plus size?” and I had to say that I was honestly so sick of the question and the back and forth fight around it. I don’t care what you call me. I’m here to bridge the gap between what is straight size and what’s plus size, but I’m a model at the end of the day. If you have to put a label on me to figure out what client needs me that is fine. If a client needs a plus sized girl, then she knows where her plus size girls are! I’m just a model. I don’t like that there is this label used to describe me, but for bookings I understand why it’s needed.
J: Those labels are almost passé at this point – if you’re a good model, you’re a good model.
AG: Yeah, it’s a pretty face, it’s someone who can move, it’s someone who is interesting – book her! Who cares what size she is, get the clothes that fit her. There’s tons of clothes out there now and there are so many different designers that are doing plus size now. Like, Eloquii! They’re great, they’re fantastic. Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and everything at Macy’s they all go up to 24’s and 28’s… so it’s happening! Everything is changing, it’s fantastic.
And buy a bra! I have bras! I did a lingerie collection with AdditionElle.
J: What made you want to go into lingerie design?
AG: It was hard enough for me to find supportive, sexy lingerie. Especially with variety – in my collection we’ve got something for the wild woman, something for when you want to feel sexy, something for when you want to feel adventurous. There are big department stores that are hopefully going to pick it up for the holiday so you can buy it in America exclusively.
J: They’re absolutely beautiful too.
AG: All of the lace is from Paris and it’s quality. That’s what I wanted. I wanted the women of America and Canada to understand that I want quality just as much as you do and I want support and I want it to be sexy. When my shirt comes off in front of my husband I don’t want there to be some nude, grandma, and I call them work bras… with like, a lace design on it.. like, come on!
So, I approached Additionelle- do you guys want to do it with me? And they said yes! So, here we are making lingerie and love together!
They wanted to test it out and see how well it was doing, which it’s doing fantastic, so we’re going up to G’s and H’s for holiday also. It launched in November, we just launched the spring collection almost two months ago, and then fall will come out in July. It’s very exciting.
J: Do you have any plans to do clothes?
AG: Yes! I would love to do clothes. I don’t know what direction I’m going to take it or who I’m going to go with or if I’m going to do it on my own. I don’t really know yet, but I do know that I love my curves and I love to show them off and it’s really hard for me to find clothes that are sexy, but that also have a baggy boy-ish feel to them. I don’t know! It’s a very strange aesthetic that I’m always looking for. Right now I’m loving the Eileen Fisher harem pants, but then I love a sexy and tight body conscious dress that’s cut for an hourglass figure. When I’m designing it, I’m really going to think about every different body shape because that’s the beauty of plus or curvy women, none of us are created equal. There’s different shapes on everyone. I want to do something that caters to everybody.
J: That’s amazing, I love it. Please keep us posted when it comes out, we’d love to see it! It’s definitely hard to find things that are cool and modern.
AG: And that you feel young in! There are so many plus sized clothes that make you feel so old and it’s because it’s made for older women. They think that the older you get, the bigger you get, but it’s not true. I’ve been this size since I was twelve years old. I’m here to change things!
Some of our favorite ladies made an appearance during men’s fashion week in London! See our favorite looks from LFW day 2.
Photos by Melodie Jeng for Models.com
Coach holds a special place as one of America’s best known fashion brands, so when it’s time to throw a party they take things to the limit. To celebrate summer Coach joined forces with Friends of the High Line for their 4th annual fete, a block party to end all others. With hip hop legends De La Soul spinning tracks and a celebrity packed guest list that included everyone from Susan Sarandon to Chloe Sevigny, Coach gave NYC’s fashion set a night to remember.
Harleth Kuusik and Anya (at The Society) Image by Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com
June Ambrose & Jay Manuel | Image by Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com
| Image by Joe Schildhorn BFAnyc.com
Anh Duong | Image by Joe Schildhorn / BFAnyc.com
Chloe Sevigny Joe Schildhorn | Image by BFAnyc.com
Indre Rockefeller | Image by Joe Schildhorn BFAnyc.com
Eva Chen | Image by Joe Schildhorn BFAnyc.com
| Image by Matteo Prandoni BFAnyc.com
Aline Weber | Image by Matteo Prandoni / BFAnyc.com
| Image by Matteo Prandoni / BFAnyc.com
Scott Lipps & Hailey Clauson | Image by Matteo Prandoni / BFAnyc.com
Peter & Harry Brant | Image by Matteo Prandoni / BFAnyc.com
The Jonathan Saunders look has always veered towards a youthful, accessible vision of luxury and his spring vision for men follows suit with its pattern rich selection. Never one to skimp on details, Saunders provides neon infused sweaters, glitter flecked suiting and an array of stripes in popsicle colors that faded into each other for a subtle ombre effect. Metallics played a strong role, with silver touches appearing on skinny ties and rock print shorts that seemed almost unisex. Given the amount of womenswear looks mixed into Saunders’ mens showing the move seemed intelligent – there isn’t a single piece featured that wouldn’t look just as good on the back of the well dressed femmes who favor Saunders’ eclectic perspective. Backstage models looked right at home in the designer’s wares, rocking the separates and oversized accessories like beloved pieces from their own closets.
Photographed by Arnolt Smead
This years annual amFAR Inspiration Gala paid tribute to men’s style and fashion influencers making a difference in the field of AIDS research. Honorees included everyone from a bonafide princess (AIDS activist HRH Princess Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway) to media giant HBO, whose landmark production of A Normal Heart won accolades for its gripping recount of the first days of the AIDS epidemic. Naturally, Hollywood came out for amfAR and the A-List crowd included Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto along with fashion elite like Franca Sozzani and Francisco Costa.
The evening also brought out some of fashion’s hottest male models, who walked the runway in looks from leading menswear designers, and all for a good cause. Outlandish pieces from Thom Browne, JW Anderson, Christopher Kane, Hood by Air and Calvin Klein Collection (who were honored for their continued dedication to AIDS research) made a splash on the runway. This year girls even joined in on the fun with an edited selection of womenswear pieces included in the mix. If the whirlwind fashion show wasn’t enough excitement for one night the star-studded event, hosted by Josh Duhamel concluded with a special performance by New Order.
Casting by Drew Linehan for Trew Productions
Show stylist William Graper
Show makeup by Teams at Mac Cosmetics
Show hair by Rodney Cutler’s salon
Backstage photos by Casey Vange
Runway photos by Julia Chesky
Red Carpet photos Getty Images
Actor Zachary Quinto & Miles McMillan Image By: Mike Coppola / Getty Images Entertainment
Images by Casey Vange for Models.com
Oraine Barrett (left)
Images by Julia Chesky for Models.com
Constance Jablonski was honored last night for her work with NYC-based charity for at-risk teens, The Urban Dove. The fashion community came out to celebrate her achievements and bring awareness to the charity’s mission.
As Meghan Collison was getting ready to accompany Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of Creatures of the Wind to the CFDA awards (where they would take home the Swarovski Award For Womenswear!), photographer Casey Vange was on hand to capture the preparations during fittings and to chat with Shane & Christopher about Meghan’s look.
What kind of look are you guys doing with Meghan tonight?
Shane & Chris: For Meghan, what we’re doing is playing with this 70’s, witchy, but very light, glammy sort of thing going on. We called our friend Irene, and we said that the jumpsuit that Meghan was wearing would look really great with a piece of jewelry.
We were also trying to play off of Meghan’s personal style, too. Whenever you’re dressing a girl for something like this it has to be an extension of them. It’s really obvious when they’re not comfortable or when it feels foreign so you have to make it comfortable and cool.
Why do you guys like working with Meghan?
Shane & Chris: Meghan is totally rad! When we go to events like this, we always want to go with someone who is a fun and chill person. That’s so important especially if it’s a stressful evening. Going to events is great because it is kind of like a bonding experience because they’re always very unusual and kind of weird, but fun events.
We met Meghan backstage last night. We just have a lot of mutual friends. You can kind of tell who’s going to be cool. That’s an important thing, we don’t really like the kind of inauthenticity of someone who you don’t genuinely like. It has to be real, it has to feel normal and comfortable.
Tell us a little bit about the makeup look that you put together for Meghan
Magda: He wanted something that was more ethereal and more witchy, but with a modern twist. So, you don’t want to do too much of an eye. He just wanted to do a dark, Bordeaux lip with a clean skin and a little bit of a dew/glow. Obviously, with a bold lip like that, if you have a lot of matte-ness going on it would be uneven so we gave it a little bit of that dewy/glowy fresh skin. That was the focus and then bold lips. His theme was to make her like a pretty witch! Very clean, very simple. A lot of mascara but no eye shadow… just very clean.
Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with Meghan’s hair tonight
Clay:We did a really simple look. We wanted to keep her, looking like her. We didn’t want to do anything to crazy. She’s a pretty girl and I like it when pretty girls kind of, keep it simple.
We just did a messy bun and a four stranded braid with a few pieces kind of pulled out to give it a little more texture. We left her fringe down, she’s got a great fringe and it helped to highlight her face.