Ten Models to Watch From the American Collections

Freshly named the American Collections this season, what was formerly known as New York Fashion Week reimagined how we experience fashion shows. Many, if not all, of the shows were viewed from the comfort of our homes, whether it be via a fashion film, digital look or in some cases both. The long-established fashion show, with a packed audience of editors, stylists, retailers, influencers and celebrities, appears to be a thing of the past — at least for the time being.

One factor that has remained constant are models, but even they have had to adapt to the changes. Before, all it took was one stellar show season to put a model on the map, but with COVID-19 travel restrictions still in place for many countries, casting of fashion films and look books has begun to evolve as well, opening up a channel of possibilities for other talent to shine and be noticed, and not just relying on the traditional sea of talent of supermodels.

The fall 2019 season saw the biggest jump ever in terms of racial diversity, and with NYFW being one of the most diverse when it comes to casting. That trend has fortunately continued, with models of different race, ethnicity and body shapes walking the New York runways this season.

Below, we round up the top newcomers making their mark and to keep an eye out for:

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Max Mara RTW Fall 2021 Collection Preview

1. Alexis Brookins

Age: 23

Hometown: Taylor, Mich.

Agency: Supreme

Still fairly new to the New York runway scene, Alexis walked for Gabriela Hearst’s fall 2021 show. Previous runway stints include Ulla Johnson’s spring 2021 show, Theory and Private Policy’s fall 2020 shows.

Gabriela Hearst RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst

2. LouLou Westlake

Age: 18

Hometown: Manhattan, N.Y.

Agency: Heroes

LouLou made her official debut last year for Nike’s 2020 forum show, as well as Ulla Johnson’s spring 2021 show. She returned this season to walk once again for Ulla Johnson’s fall show.

Ulla Johnson RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Ulla Johnson

3. Olivia Novak

Age: 19

Hometown: Houston

Agency: The Society Management

The Houston-native returns to walk once again for Proenza Schouler’s fall 2021 show (her debut for the brand was for their fall 2020 show), one of the most sought after bookings of any model. Previous appearances include walking for the likes of Tory Burch, JW Anderson and Off-White during her debut in fall 2020.

Proenza Schouler RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Proenza Schouler

4. Ling Bol

Age: 21

Hometown: Windham, Maine

Agency: State Management

Ling made her New York debut for Jason Wu’s fall show (one of only two shows that had a physical audience). Ling has also appeared in Carolina Herrera’s pre-fall 2021 look book and a special project for Proenza Schouler’s white label social media campaign, shot by Lazaro Hernandez.

Jason Wu RTW Fall 2021 Masato Onoda/WWD

5. Katie Johnson

Age: 21

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Agency: State Management

Katie has been in the fashion lens since 2019, walking almost exclusively for every single Gucci show since spring 2020, as well as various Gucci eyewear ad campaigns, pre-fall look books and most recently, Gucci’s collaboration with The North Face’s ad campaign. For her New York debut, she walked for Gabriela Hearst.

Gabriela Hearst RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst

6. Lisa Han

Age: 21

Hometown: Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Agency: The Lions

New to the NYFW runway scene, Han walked for Jason Wu’s socially distanced show. Some other notable shows under her belt include Dolce & Gabbana’s spring 2020 show, as well as their Alta Moda spring 2021 show and Ambush’s spring 2021 look book.

Jason Wu RTW Fall 2021 Masato Onoda/WWD

7. Lya Quinones

Age: 17

Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.

Agency: IMG

A true local talent, Lya marked her runway debut in her hometown for power brands, including Jason Wu’s socially distanced runway show and Khaite’s fall fashion film.

Jason Wu RTW Fall 2021 Masato Onoda/WWD

8. Emmie Nielsen

Age: 19

Hometown: San Diego

Agency: IMG

The young model made her first step onto the New York runway scene by walking Jason Wu’s fall show and was featured in Sandy Liang’s fall 2021 look book.

Jason Wu RTW Fall 2021 Masato Onoda/WWD

9. Jayden Jackson

Age: 19

Hometown: Hudson, N.Y.

Agency: IMG

Jackson made his NYFW debut for Prabal Gurung’s fall look book.

Prabal Gurung RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Prabal Gurung

10. Ella Emhoff

Age: 21

Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Agency: IMG

Her name has resonated with the fashion industry since her appearance at the presidential inauguration. The stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, she donned a Miu Miu tartan coat with crystal-encrusted shoulders and a dramatic pilgrim collar over a burgundy dress by New York designer Batsheva at the big event, making her the biggest surprise debut. Emhoff was featured as an exclusive for Proenza Schouler’s fall collection. The Parsons student also appeared on the cover of Dust Magazine’s latest issue, shot by Collier Schorr, which was released during NYFW.

Proenza Schouler RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Proenza Schouler

But models weren’t the only one to partake in the fashion festivities, as we also took notice of a handful of new and familiar celebrity faces, including Dorinda Medley (a former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City), singer Justine Skye and Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman of “Saturday Night Live,” who were spotlighted in Christian Cowan’s fall designs.

Other notable appearances included plus-size model and sustainability advocate, Paloma Elsesser or Gabriela Hearst, and Tavi Gevinson and Megan Thee Stallion partook in Stuart Vevers’ second “Coach Forever” effort, which also included more than 18 additional personalities including Jennifer Lopez, Michael B. Jordan and Kaia Gerber.

Justine Skye for Christian Cowan RTW Fall 2021 Adrienne Raquel/Courtesy of Chri


Dorinda Medley for Christian Cowan RTW Fall 2021 Adrienne Raquel/Courtesy of Chri


Bowen Yang for Christian Cowan RTW Fall 2021 Adrienne Raquel/Courtesy of Chri


Chloe Fineman for Christian Cowan RTW Fall 2021 Adrienne Raquel/Courtesy of Chri


Paloma Elsesser for Gabriela Hearst RTW Fall 2021 Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst


Megan Thee Stallion for Coach RTW Fall 2021 



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