Manhattan. The heart of the modelling world. A new LGBTQI+ model agency, New Pandemics has recently established itself here, and it's planning to change the world of fashion in terms of queer visibility.
W Magazine reports that the co-founder Cody Chandler says that the agency currently represents 17 models. And with its rapid Instagram follower growth, it can only be assumed that the world is, in fact, on board with this agency's approach.
Like a mainstream agency, the website features its models' measurements, but what's different is that it also includes the pronouns by which they wish to be called.
Mecca prefers Her/She.
The agency doesn't exclusively sign LGBTQI models, but are purposely very inclusive of this community, as a means to increase the number of working LGBTQI models in fashion. And as an added bonus, 10% of the agency's profits go towards supporting non-profit organisations serving the LGBTQI community.
Models.com writes that not only will LGBTQI visibility be increased by the existence of an agency like this, but it will directly help to smash stigmas surrounding being queer.
The website goes on to note, very importantly, that it will improve diversity, which is so necessary considering a recent forum discussion on the website around the topic. Models discussed that their managers and agents tell them to rather not disclose their sexual orientation (if queer) to potential clients as it would impact on their chances to get booked for jobs.
"The subject of diversity in fashion stands as an extensive pillar of disgruntlement. The fashion industry sells a lifestyle of luxurious perfection yet, up until very recently, who was included in that narrative was normally painted as tall, skinny, and white. For those outside that singular description, with coins to spend, fashion runways and billboards have fallen short of expectations. As the industry moves to rectify racial biases, many models call for further pushes of diversity in skin colour, gender identity, and height, " writes Models.com.
Fashion editor and writer, Daniel Geldenhuys says that in South Africa, agencies like My Friend Ned and a new one called Fantastic are the best in terms of queer representation.
It's good to know that an effort is being here at home.