Meet Today’s Chic Crew of Change-Makers

Those lamenting that the world is going to hell—what with terrorism, the risk of nuclear war, and environmental catastrophes—need only look to today’s youth for peace of mind. Indeed, they are an inspiring group, fighting for everything from gun control to gay rights, and effecting change where the older generations could not. And what style they have! In approaching fashion with the same fearlessness that they assume political matters, they make for a seriously radical lot. Take for example, the Japanese model Manami Kinoshita and her spiky red hairdo. She is among the handful of young people who were cast—many via Instagram—for this fashion feature. Also in the bunch: Ariel Nicholson, the six-foot-tall Pre-Raphaelite beauty who has become vocal in raising awareness for the trans community. We could all definitely take a cue from her, and her ability to turn a tough situation—in her case, coming out—“into something great.”

Hunter Schafer

With her spindly figure and mane of white-blonde hair, 19-year-old Hunter Schafer projects an otherworldly air. Raised in North Carolina, she began modeling in her final semester of high school, and moved to Brooklyn last year, after signing with Elite. An illustrator and activist, she came out at 13 and transitioned at 14, relying on the Internet to help her “put a finger on my identity, and discover small queer publications and Instagram ­presences, like Tavi Gevinson and Laverne Cox.” Being in high school as a trans teen was not without its complications. “Going to dances was weird,” she says, “because dressing up is always very binary.” She started out making “comics exploring my trans-ness and my sexuality” that soon drew the attention of Rookie magazine, Teen Vogue, and, eventually, her current agent. After modeling full-time for seven months and interning for the up-and-coming New York label Vaquera, she has her sights set on a degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martins, in London, where she’s moving this fall. “The influx of trans models is interesting, but, like myself, most of them pass as cisgender, meaning that someone on the street isn’t going to look at us and assume we’re trans,” says Schafer, who longs for a broader awareness. The Women’s March, she points out, “was applicable to the higher end of the privilege spectrum: white, cis, heterosexual women. But when it comes to Black Lives ­Matter or a trans intersection of that sort of feminism, people are not there in the same way.”