Often relocating from their home towns or cities for exciting opportunities as swiftly as they might have to jet off for a last-minute job overseas, models are some of the fashion industry's most seasoned globetrotters. With Who What Wear UK's focus this month on global style and all its beautiful nuances, this important tribe of insiders needed be tapped for information.
Models have to flex to feel comfortable in any given country on any given day, but they're also understandably be keen to hold onto the culture and fashion influences tied to their heritage. Gone are the days of blank-canvas girls where the uniform is a black biker jacket and skinny jeans—worldwide appeal now revolves around a unique sense of style and ability to express oneself.
So how does this new way of living affect the way you view street style, Instagram or trending fashion brands, for example? We put some questions forward to a hip international set of models to understand not only how their personal styles have been shaped throughout the course of their peripatetic careers but to also get their lowdown on the ever-growing street style scenes across the world.
Our team collaborated with the premium influencer company Model Village to source well-dressed, clever, in-demand models to give us some insight. From Denmark to Brazil and the U.K. to the USA, below you'll discover new names to add to your feed as well as a few choice insights to pepper into your next intellectual fashion conversations.
From: Malaysia (currently living in London)
Instagram Handle: @kinkipoo
Model Agency: M+P Models
Personal Style: "Street style is an attitude. You're either being yourself or trying to be someone else," says Kea, who went on to describe her home city's style as "cool, punk and diverse." As for her own outlook, no day is the same, and she's inspired by Rihanna: "Where I'm from, it's sunny hot and humid 24/7, so you don't always see people layering it up with wool jackets or parka. Whereas London has such a cool vibe; given the crazy weather, it's always exciting to style with leather, faux fur, vinyl in plain or pop colors. Some days I'm obsessed with leather so I'll dress in all black or whatnot even on a sunny day; some days I'm in a hoodie and my Docs, and I'm good to go. I've come to a point where I don't plan my outfits anymore or obsess about sharing an Instagram story unless I'm on vacation and I just bought some cute knotted tops and sunnies."
Hot Brands: Céline, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Sacai.
Street Style Culture: The biggest impact of street style on the fashion industry, Kea notes, is that big brands like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci—once unapproachable and niche—have become more accessible: "[They're] being patronized by almost every fashion person we know—it's contagious, and the street trend is likely here to stay."
From: Denmark (where she currently lives)
Instagram Handle: @aristeaaa
Model Agency: IMG Model Milan
Personal Style: "When I was a little girl, I used to watch at the people passing by on the streets. I looked at their outfits, haircuts, etc., and felt so inspired! Fashion has always been a big interest of mine, and I really like to express myself through it. I've tried a lot of different styles, but I finally feel like I found the look that suits me just right. I like to keep it simple with a little twist," Aristea tells us, adding that Amsterdam's cool crowds never fail to surprise her with unexpected and unique outfits.
Street Style Culture: Aristea is a big Instagram fan (increasingly posting her own content) and credits social media as the real driving force for fashion inspiration. Whether you're a big brand or just a person with a huge interest in style, the simple opening of an app provides the entire world on a small glass screen.
From: Brooklyn (and currently living in London)
Instagram Handle: @nejilka
Model Agency: Nevs Models
Personal Style: "Tailored, edgy, colourful (at least the people I hang out with)," says Nejilka of how she view's London's style landscape, taking more time to focus on expressing something through her clothes and the way she carries herself than living for posting to Instagram.
Hot Brands: "I pull up a lot of Moschino, Dolce & Gabanna and references from the '90s, and put a modern twist to it."
Street Style Culture: "Every country has different opinions, different languages are spoken, different kinds of environment… One thing that doesn't change is street style. I feel like street style brings everyone together. People from different backgrounds introduce something new to the table," says Nejilka. "It has definitely became a movement throughout the last decade. It's making a big impact in the fashion industry. For example, right now everyone wants to see what you're wearing, right? But the new generation isn't interested in what labels you're wearing—they're interested in how you wear it. That's what street style is. A lot of the new generation is picking up on that and making a impact on fashion using affordable brands or even vintage."
From: Burundi in east Africa (and currently living in London)
Instagram Handle: @nellaroz
Model Agency: Bookings Models
Personal Style: Nella describes Amsterdam's style scene as "fresh, diverse and safe," but her own wardrobe is far more out-of-the-box—she gets dressed each day depending on her mood. "What I want to share on my Instagram is how and what I feel. And if anyone feels how I feel in that moment, I hope they get an inspiration out of it for the day," she tells us.
Hot Brands: Although Nella stats that she's more likely to find style inspiration in brands than in people, she does have an interest in Vetements and Avalone (a Tokyo-based streetwear label).
Street Style Culture: "Street style is not a trend; it's how people have been dressing on the streets for years. Only now people get to share their own street style with the rest of the world and inspire each other. Before, people had to look aft fashion shows for inspiration; now it's the fashion industry looking at the people and their street style to be inspired," says Nella. "The fashion shows are showcasing just clothes and collections, but through street style, you can see someone's personality, taste and how they wear these pieces off the runway."
From: London (where she currently lives)
Instagram Handle: @hannahalkindi
Model Agency: First Model Managament
Personal Style: London style, to Hannah, can be summed up in three words: "Innovative, cosy, versatile." Her personal interpretation of that involves wearing pieces she's felt comfortable wearing since she was a child—think baggy, boxy clothes and sneakers. As such, Hannah buys what she's drawn to and doesn't rely on any specific style icons to influence her own look.
Hot Brands: Stussy, Weekday, Fila, Supreme, Champion, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci are just a few favourite brands in Hannah's wardrobe.
Street Style Culture: "In London, streetwear is something that was born from working-class youth and people—that's why it's so unique. It's a staple and something the London youth hold with pride. Even though it has shifted very much to the middle and upper classes, it will always be known as working-class culture in London. Every city or country has its own story," says Hannah. "I think it's a good thing, but we must remember where it stemmed from and why and appreciate the culture behind it rather than just monetise it."
From: Natal in Brazil (and currently lives in London)
Instagram Handle: @rafaellyxavier
Model Agency: IMOffice
Personal Style: Rafaelly is all about mixing and matching her wardrobe to suit whatever look she's going for on any given day, citing a host of price points in her repertoire but also a mix of vintage. "I think fashion is all about recycling, and you can find some great outfits in the most random shops," she tells us. While you won't find this Brazilian hitting a trend for the sake of it, she does look to some influential girls for outfit crafting inspiration such as Rocky Barnes, Camila Coelho and Camila Coutinho.
Hot Brands: "I love the basics from Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters. Other stores I love are The Kooples, DvF, Sandro, Maje, COS… In a list, they don’t all seem similar, but as I said, I love mixing up my style and collaborating with different brands."
Street Style Culture: "Street style impacts fashion in so many different ways, and you see the giants of the industry speeding up their processes and delivering more every day. Most importantly, I'm so glad to see how our generation is having an eye-opening glimpse to different parts of the process, such as production and fighting for human rights," says Rafaelly. "Check out the Fashion Revolution (an organisation that wants to help change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way). It has an amazing mantra I really believe in: 'We love fashion, but we don't want our clothes to come at the cost of people or our planet.'"
From: Brazil (but currently living in London)
Instagram Handle: @laisbot
Model Agency: PRM Agency
Personal Style: "I'd define my style as not basic—think casual and colourful!" says Lais, who notes that her experimental side has been encouraged by her adventures in the modelling business. "I love Inès de la Fressange; she was the first person who truly engaged me with the fashion world and strongly influences the way I dress."
Hot Brands: "Designer-wise, I love brands such as A.W.A.K.E, Joseph and Céline, but lately I've been willing to mix this classical and 'fancy' feel with something more urbane like Adidas, Dr. Martens, Converse—Alexa Chung does this in an amazing way."
Street Style Culture: "It's funny to see how different people are in every country I visit, and I love taking note of this when I travel. For example, especially when I'm in China: They've got such as strong history that's so defined with their dress, and it's completely different from my Brazilian path—we're the opposite!" explains Lais. "My sense of freedom within my style has oriented from London, but it's also inspired from my trips to China, where people really express themselves through their clothes. I've got the kind of 'Vetements' oversized style from their culture, with loads of hoodies and accessories. The environment wherever you are does really influence your style. "