One of the best parts of venturing off the beaten fashion path is the chance to discover new talents. So obviously, when we headed down to Sydney for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Australia — the land of some of the best looking people on the planet, it must be said — we had to find the local models who will likely make their mark on the industry very soon. Whether they were runway newbies or girls already getting buzz in Paris, these are the five up-and-coming models who should be on your radar come the Spring 2017 shows.
This isn't Jade Woods's first time modeling: She was initially scouted at age 13, but stepped away from the business at 16 because she didn't feel ready. "I was so shy!" she says of those early years. At age 19, though, this full-time uni student hailing from New Zealand (via Scotland) felt the time was right to come back. She'll graduate in December with a degree in communications (specializing in fashion PR, the clever girl!), when she can really throw herself back into modeling. In the meantime, Woods opened Dion Lee's show, and managed to not fall on Toni Maticevski's challenging runway. "Definitely a bit of a workout on the legs," she says with a laugh. "But it was incredible, I had an amazing dress, which I loved, and they just pampered us the whole day."
It wasn't long ago that Kawani Prenter was discovered while swimming at a friend's barbecue, but to call her an up-and-comer is something of an understatement: At age 16, she's already walked for Chanel. NBD. "The set up was amazing, and I was so nervous," she says of the show. Logging 16 appearances on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Australia is just a warm up for the Aussie native, who is aiming to take over the world's top runways. "I don't have one in particular," she says, "but it would be cool to be able to walk for all the top brands." We'd say Chanel isn't a bad start.
Emma Macgowan's modeling career kicked off when she won a local competition at age 13. Like model bestie Kawani Prenter, with whom she often travels, Macgowan has already made a major appearance on the Paris runways thanks to a turn at Miu Miu. "It was incredible," she says. "It was really scary, but I loved it so much, it was so cool." Macgowan hit 18 runways at MBFW:A before closing the week out with an appearance as the bride in Oscar de la Renta's show. But Macgowan already has her eye on a certain modeling prize: a pair of Victoria's Secret Angel wings.
Discovered through the Miss South Sudan beauty pageant, Subah Koj hasn't been working for very long. However, she's already made a pretty major impression: When Subah opened the Georgia Alice show, she became the first dark-skinned model to open any show at MBFW:A. "It was such an honor," she says. "[Fashion week] has been so busy, but it's been an amazing experience." Always the sign of an up-and-comer, Subah was also shot by street style photographers several times over the course of the week. Maybe her goals of walking for Prada and appearing in the pages of Vogue aren't far behind.
Getting scouted to model while eating frozen yogurt in the mall sounds like a teen dream — but that's literally what happened to Zoe Barnard. "I've always thought about it," she says of a modeling career. "I've always watched Top Model, but I never thought that I'd get it, so it's really cool that I [did]." She's got a few minor campaigns under her belt with brands like Cotton On, but Resort 2017 marks her first-ever runway season. "I've been going to everything, and it's been so much fun backstage, you have the best days," she says. Hopefully that enthusiasm takes her all the way to Kenzo, the brand she says has been her favorite ever since she was little.
Disclosure: IMG provided my travel and accommodations to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.