Of recent years there’s been a huge shift in the zeitgeist around inclusivity, and the Fashion world has experienced this earthquake like none other.

Gone are the days of industry-picked supermodels: the Helenas, Kates and Giseles of yesteryear are being replaced by a new more diverse and disruptive set, and their popularity comes from the ground up. With huge social media followings, global citizenry and points of view that inspire plurality, equity and social justice, this new vanguard of models in the Fashion industry are representing like never before.

Theodora Quinlivan, known in the industry as ‘Teddy’, is a perfect example of where things are headed. Her career went stellar when discovered by Louis Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015. At 23, the popular Boston-born model walked the catwalk for Jeremy Scott, Carolina Herrera and Diane Von Furstenberg. Then in 2017 she caused a stir at New York Fashion Week when she came out as transgender in an online interview with CNN Style and on Instagram.

“I’ve decided to reveal my trans identity because of the political climate in the world right now — particularly in the United States,” Teddy said. “We made an amazing progression under the Obama administration, and since the new administration took office there’s been a kind of backlash.”

Why she hid what she calls her “darkest secret” is not only political but historical, harking to an environment which has traditionally been harsh to those that fall outside the gender norms.


Story by Niyati Libotte

Edited by Adam Dunne

Narration by Paul G Roberts

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