Skip to main content

17 Breakout Models From the Fall 2017 Shows

Meet the freshest faces in the game.
Halima Aden, Slick Woods and Sara Grace Wallerstedt. Photos: Imaxtree

Halima Aden, Slick Woods and Sara Grace Wallerstedt. Photos: Imaxtree

Fall 2017 was a breakthrough season for diversity on the runways, and the rookie class of up-and-coming models was stacked with beautiful girls of all ethnicities. From hijab-wearing Halima Aden to badass Slick Woods, meet 17 noteworthy newcomers to know now.

Birgit Kos

Agency: The Society
Hometown: Dedemsvaart, Overijssel, The Netherlands
Age: 21
Instagram: @birgitkos
Highlight reel: Opened Chloe, Closed Fendi, Closed Mugler, Opened Redemption, Lanvin, Versace, Celine, Saint Laurent
The rap: Fashion might have found the next Bond Girl. After debuting in Miu Miu's Spring campaign, this blue-eyed Dutchie with classic starlet appeal went on to sweep up the Fall 2017 shows, walking every runway that mattered, starting in Milan. She's already got a handful of key editorials for Love, Vogue Japan and i-D magazines, cementing her status as top newcomer of the season.

He Cong

Agency: IMG
Hometown: Hunan, China
Age: 20
Instagram: @heconghc
Highlight reel: Opened Public School, Dior, Valentino, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler
The rap: It's impressive for any model — let alone a newcomer — to walk 40-plus shows in a season. So this Chinese cutie (that face is pristine!) earns props not only for having a breakthrough month, but also for outperforming just about every other catwalker in terms of quantity and quality. 

Lex Herl

Agency: Ford
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Age: 17
Instagram: @lex.herl
Highlight reel: Opened Altuzarra, Opened Sies Marjan, Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Prada, Miu Miu, Dior, Chanel, Valentino
The rap: At first glance, you might not believe this pouty brunette is a Midwestern girl-next-door. The Wisconsin high school senior, who was accepted to Notre Dame University and discovered at a Cheap Trick concert, kicked off her first fashion month with a dizzying stream of cool New York shows, then finished strong in Europe with all the biggies.

Aira Ferreira

Agency: Supreme
Hometown: Fortaleza, Brazil
Age: 17
Instagram: @airafn_
Highlight reel: Closed Tory Burch, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Dior, Miu Miu, Saint Laurent, Versace, Prada, J.W. Anderson
The rap: Brazil is officially enjoying a modeling renaissance thanks to this season's new poster girl, who positively slayed in all four cities. Ferreira showed incredible, chameleon-like versatility for a rookie, seamlessly transitioning from tomboy cool at Michael Kors to sexy vixen at Versace to quirky eccentric at Prada — nailing every role in between.

Halima Aden

Agency: IMG
Hometown: St. Cloud, Minnesota
Age: 19
Instagram: @kinglimaa
Highlight reel: Yeezy, Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti
The rap: The most unforgettable debut of the season? Halima Aden, the first-ever hijab-wearing model to sign with IMG. The Somali-American stunner established herself as a role model for young Muslim women in last year’s Miss Minnesota USA pageant and attracted industry-wide attention after making her runway debut at the Yeezy Season Five show. Her early champion and fashion fairy godmother is none other than Carine Roitfeld, who styled all three shows Aden appeared in, and featured her on the cover of the latest CR Fashion Book.

Aiden Curtiss

Agency: Next
Hometown: New York City
Age: 19
Instagram: @aidencurtiss
Highlight reel: Miu Miu, Fenty Puma by Rihanna, Stella McCartney, Fendi, Versace, Off-White, Public School, Bottega Veneta
The rap: As the daughter of two industry legends (her mother is Yves Saint Laurent muse Katoucha Niane and her father is Comme des Garçons designer Nigel Curtis), fashion came easily to this curly haired rookie, a DJ and producer whose first love is music.

Michelle Gutknecht

Agency: The Lions
Hometown: Bydgoszcz, Poland
Instagram: @michelle_gtk
Highlight reel: Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Céline, Fendi, Saint Laurent, Dior, Moschino
The rap: After opening last season's Proenza Schouler show and making a few select appearances in Paris, we had high hopes for this Polish beauty heading into this season — and she totally hit it out of the park. Casting directors across the board have fallen for her adorable face, bouncy waves and all-around cool girl appeal.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Yoon Young Bae

Agency: The Society
Hometown: Daegu, South Korea
Age: 19
Instagram: @mulan_bae
Highlight reel: Céline, Chanel, Valentino, Versace, Christopher Kane, Burberry
The rap: Yes, this girl's face is real! After two ultra-selective seasons (complete with a Prada appearance and campaign), this otherworldly Korean had a well-deserved breakout season, booking premium shows in all four cities.

Lea Julian

Agency: The Society
Hometown: Toulouse, France
Age: 18
Instagram: @lea_jul
Highlight reel: Alexander McQueen, Dior, Chloe, Prada, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Jason Wu
The rap: You can't teach je ne sais quoi, but this Frenchie has got it in spades. After becoming a finalist in the Elite Model Search several years back, Julian had been grooming for her epic fall season, where all her hard work paid off — big time.

Hiandra Martinez

Agency: Next
Hometown: Dominican Republic
Instagram: @hiandramartinez
Highlight reel: Opened Saint Laurent, Chanel, Valentino, Stella McCartney, Loewe
The rap: She's the apple of Anthony Vaccarello's eye, having racked up several Saint Laurent campaigns and an exclusive runway appearance last season, leading up to her opening spot at the label's Fall '17 show and several other key Paris bookings. Keep an eye on this tough beauty at the top of everyone’s hot list.

Sohyun Jung

Agency: One
Hometown: South Korea
Age: 21
Instagram: @cochon_j
Highlight reel: Céline, Chanel, Miu Miu, Fenty x Puma, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang
The rap: Is it the second coming of Jenny Shimizu? That was our first thought about the tomboyish catwalker who got an edgy new haircut for the Alexander Wang show, then went on to walk a selective roster of elite shows throughout the month.

Manuela Sanchez

Agency: DNA
Hometown: Dominican Republic
Age: 16
Instagram: @manuela_sanchez__
Highlight reel: Closed Paco Rabanne, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant, Versace, Prada
The rap: Proof that we've entered a golden era for Dominican models. Following in the footsteps of Lineisy Montero and Hiandra Martinez, this adorable Caribbean catwalker has caught the attention of top casting directors from Ashley Brokaw to Piergiorgio del Moro, who can't get enough of her frizzy halo of natural curls and gap-toothed grin.

Sara Grace Wallerstedt

Agency: The Society
Hometown: Bedford, Texas
Age: 17
Instagram: @walldamort
Highlight reel: Calvin Klein, Prada
The rap: When's the last time you saw a face this unique? Those freckles (we're getting visions of a young Maggie Rizer) would make any model obsessive weak in the knees. After debuting as a Proenza Schouler exclusive last season, this Texan teenager kept us begging for more with a slew of cool magazine editorials and two ultra high-profile runway turns this season.

Radhika Nair

Agency: Ford
Hometown: Kerala, India
Instagram: @b.y.o.s.d
Highlight reel: Opened Esteban Cortazar, Closed Christian Wijnants, Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Loewe, Vetements
The rap: She became the first-ever Indian model to ever walk a Balenciaga show last season and continued to light the way for the promising crop of South Asian catwalkers on the Fall '17 runways. We dig her killer bone structure, bold brows and boyish crop of dark curls, and as an added bonus, she's a talented, aspiring photographer.


Agency: The Society
Hometown: Zaporizhia, Ukraine
Age: 17
Instagram: @dear.ratner
Highlight reel: Chanel, Céline, Valentino, Dior, Off-White, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria Beckham, Maison Margiela
The rap: Every season needs a one-name-only modeling sensation, and Ratner was it for Fall '17. This elfish darling from Eastern Europe has been generating plenty of buzz since officially debuting a year ago and proved her potential this time around with a majorly impressive show list.

Slick Woods

Agency: The Lions
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Age: 20
Instagram: @slickwoods
Highlight reel: Opened Marc Jacobs, Opened Fenty Puma by Rihanna, Fendi
The rap: With her gap-toothed grin, shaved head, tattoos, dope personal style and addictive social media presence, Slick Woods (née Simone Thompson) has been a much needed breath of fresh air for the modeling industry. She's gotten all the right kind of exposure this year (CR Fashion Book, Vogue, and more), so we were thrilled to see her kick off the Marc Jacobs and Fenty x Puma shows and earn Karl Lagerfeld's stamp of approval at Fendi.

Fernanda Oliviera

Agency: Ford Paris
Hometown: Brazil
Age: 19
Instagram: @___noangel
Highlight reel: Proenza Schouler, Saint Laurent
The rap: With her spunky attitude and beguiling curly mop, this Brazilian up-and-comer — an exclusive for Proenza Schouler and Saint Laurent (nbd) — is definitely one to watch.  

Never miss the latest fashion industry news. Sign up for the Fashionista daily newsletter.