Model Andreja Pejic Sounds Off On Diversity At Fashion Week

While it'd be worth while to sit down and tally every transgender model who walked Fashion Week this season, the reality is it still wouldn't be enough. Despite all the diversity inroads that have been made in New York runways this season there is still a stigma, and a fear that remains when it comes to trans models coming out, that of being "othered." This point was raised by transgender model Andreja Pejic, who was once heralded as one of the first gender fluid models to be featured in mainstream, luxury fashion magazines and runways, and is now one of the few models to be open about their transition.
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Pejic took to Instagram to give thanks to designer Prabal Gurung, who featured her in his spring 2018 show on Sunday, while simultaneously bringing to light an important point about transgender visibility on the runways. "Firstly I'd like to think I've worked hard and built up a pretty good resume of work in this industry so I am not inclined to accept every job that comes along," she wrote. "Secondly and more importantly, if I'm being honest about where we stand right now, the truth is that if a girl chooses to be open about her 'transness' she will face a reality in the modeling industry where she is too easily stamped with the label of 'other' and placed into a separate and rather confined box, which in the context of high fashion is rarely opened."
Pejic continued, noting that this is the case even if a model has reached a certain level of fame and success, or ticks every box of the industry's conventional standards of beauty. "Prabal Gurung is one of those designers that understands the importance of opening this box at this time and place. Of course F the labels and F their cardboard. At the end of the day these are small hurdles in comparison to what most of us gals have had to over come in order to just BE."
In addition to Prabal Gurung, there have been other designers like Calvin Klein 250W39NYC, Chromat, and Christian Siriano among others, who've cast openly transgender models proving that diversifying runways doesn't have to mean tokenism. But there's still a long way to go, according to The Fashion Spot's seasonal diversity report, last season's runways featured only 12 transgender models — the least of any diversity category.
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