NZ Fashion Week 2021 model casting showcases diversity of Aotearoa

NZFW model casting 2021

The New Zealand Fashion Week 2021 model casting took place over the weekend at the Cordis in Auckland. Image by James Yang Photography.

New Zealand Fashion Week 2021 is just two weeks away now and the 20th annual model casting took place over the weekend at the Cordis hotel in Auckland. Nearly 500 models took to the runway to try and impress the assembled NZFW designers, and about 200 models from established talents to fresh faces will end up being cast in this year’s shows.

The modelling industry in Aotearoa New Zealand has slowly been evolving in recent years as brands and consumers respond positively to the increasing diversity represented in advertising campaigns and on the runway. In 2019, New Zealand Fashion Week announced a focus on diversity and inclusion which saw many more models representing different ages, sizes, ethnicities, genders and abilities attend the casting. This year, the event continues with that focus and the casting had the most diverse representation of models to date.

“The annual model casting signals that the countdown to New Zealand Fashion Week is well and truly on,” says Dame Pieter Stewart, founder and managing director of New Zealand Fashion Week. “We are about to celebrate our 20th anniversary and it’s wonderful to see the strides we’ve made when it comes to diversity and inclusion on the runway. This year we’re once again focused on ensuring the runways will be representative of all New Zealanders and I’m looking forward to see what new faces get snapped up.”

All is for All debuted as an agency in 2019, sending models with disabilities to the NZFW casting for the first time, with several models being cast in that year’s shows. Since then, the emerging agency and accessible communications organisation has grown in size and visibility, with many of its models who attended the first casting, including Rebecca Dubber, Olivia Shivas, Hannah Moore, Sophia Malthus and Amelia Eades, finding success in campaigns, on the runway and on magazine covers.

“2019 was the first year that NZFW included disabled models and we are so pleased that this inclusion will continue this year. Our agency has extended to include a wide range of disabilities and experiences of disability. We are so proud to see how far everyone has come in such a short time and NZFW has been a catalyst for this,” says Grace Stratton, Director of All is for All.

“Since her introduction at NZFW Rebecca Dubber has been part of a large-scale US Campaign, Hannah Moore has been on the cover of Good Magazine, Amelia Eades has featured in Good Magazine and we’ve extended the agency greatly, having models’ part of campaigns for some of New Zealand’s most loved brands. We are committed to growing the agency to be even more representative of our brilliant community.”

Among the many models attending the casting this year were Kiwi model NOAH, who is receiving a lot of hype, international attention and was named a rising star by models.com. In another first, IQRA was the first hijabi model to walk the runaway at the NZFW casting this year.

“New Zealand Fashion Week is a highlight for the national modelling industry. The industry has come a long way and it is fantastic to see the 20th edition of NZFW continuing to advocate for greater diversity inclusion on the runway. It’s also great to have some our top models at home this year so they can participate in NZFW,” says Ursula Dixon, scout and booker for Unique Model Management.

Leading agencies Red Eleven and Unique Model Management sent 90 and 93 models respectively to the casting while many smaller agencies showcasing more models than in 2019 too, including Silverfox MGMT New Zealand, Ataahua Models, Bintang Models and Belle Models. There were 17 agencies in total representing nearly 500 models which is a huge turnout and hopefully that translates into more new faces and looks making it onto the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week this year.

Images by James Yang Photography.

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