Heart throbStyling Robbie SpencerCollier SchorrJacket Dior; shirt Versace; trousers Paul Smith; shoes Gucci; tie stylist’s own; socks Falke. Opening pages. Jacket Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Coat and turtleneck Raf Simons; jacket ...
If fashion is a reflection of the times then 2018 firmly signified and cemented a new era of representation and radical transparency on the runways. With 45 transgender models having walked on major runways last season – a huge upswing from 12 we counted in the previous year – this level of trans visibility is beyond mere box ticking affirmative action – it’s empowering an entire generation of young people to claim their space and rewrite their own narratives. One of the faces at the forefront of this revolution is Krow Kian, a 23-year-old trans male model from a small suburb in Vancouver called Maple Ridge who spends the majority of his spare time, he says, “playing video games online with friends or singing while playing my ukulele.” Despite his relatively low-profile lifestyle, Kian was recently catapulted in to the spot-light when he hit the runway for Louis Vuitton’s SS19 show back in September. And as the current face of the brand’s SS19 campaign, and the first transgender model to be on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue, Kian shows no signs of slowing down. “We are all in the midst of an expansion of our ideas about what we mean to the outside world. In a way photography is a translation,”, points out Collier Schorr, the photographer who shooted him for this issue. “Krow is such a beautiful human being and in pictures the aspirations of boyhood and masculinity are at play with the mindset of being born female.”
Let’s start with your cover story. How does it feel to be the first transgender model to be on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue? I’m honoured. It just goes to show how far the world is coming with the acceptance of trans people. I’m glad I get to represent the community and be a role model that trans people can relate to.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a model? My childhood dream was - and still is - to be a singer, and I’m currently working towards that goal with the help of my modelling. I absolutely love being an entertainer and bringing a smile to people’s faces. I hope to gain a large skill set in the entertainment industry so that modelling can help singing, singing can help modelling, and both can help acting and vice versa.
So how and when did you get in to modelling? When I was at a birthday party in elementary school one of the girls said their mom thought I was a model and they suggested that I try it out so I asked my mom if I could try modelling. I was 12-years-old when I signed with an agency and travelled to Japan for work as soon as I turned 13. I modelled for six years before I stopped and transitioned.
And since transitioning and working as a male model, you’ve gone on to walk Louis Vuitton and star in their SS19 campaign? I guess “go big or go home” worked in this situation [laughs], but truly it was amazing to have my first job as a male model be for one of the biggest and oldest fashion houses in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better start or opportunity than that which Louis Vuitton gave me. My agent Liz Bell remembered my documentary producer Gina Hole mentioning that I was going to try to get back into modelling again. Liz got the email that Louis Vuitton were looking for trans and gender fluid models for their show and she asked to meet me so I could get submitted. From there everything just seemed to work out, lucky they liked me.
When did you begin your physical transition and how does it feel emotionally? I started my physical transition three years ago, but I knew I would eventually transition when I was 16 years-old. Trying to describe the feelings that go along with transitioning is difficult but I actually have a documentary coming out about my personal transition and the experience I had. It’s called Krow’s TRANS-formation and is due to come out spring 2019. It goes from before I started transitioning all the way up to me walking in the Louis Vuitton show.
What’s life been like since then? Life has been crazy since the show. I’ve been travelling around, mostly to Paris and London for magazine shoots with some incredible people. I always come back home to Canada in between to rest and stay connected with friends. It feels great to be wanted by all these amazing people though, I’m a laidback person so I seem quite casual about it even when I’m excited.
Let’s discuss your personal style. What are you most comfortable wearing? My personal style away from work is a mix between Korean men’s fashion, Japanese Visual Kei, and Canadian skater boy. It depends on the day and my mood. Personally I wear North American brands like Guess, Le Chateau, and West 49. If I could afford the really high-end brands I would love to wear clothes from Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, and Armani. I think I’m most comfortable either in a button up shirt with a vest, or in leather pants. I always have loved the style of early 2000s punk pop so it’s stuck with me.
Where do you look for style inspiration? I think the closest thing I have to a style icon would be looking at how Korean boybands dress. I love most of the clothing they use in music videos. I’m glad that clothing is becoming more non-binary so that more people can wear something because they like it regardless of their gender.
What do you get up to in your downtime back home? My relaxing and unwinding is actually playing video games. The fantasy and fun of it all helps relax my mind while sitting down helps relax my body, though I probably should go outside more often...
How does it feel to see more representation of trans models fronting campaigns and on magazine covers? I think its awesome that brands like Louis Vuitton and magazines like L’Uomo Vogue are putting trans models at the forefront because it gives representation to a group of people that don’t have very many famous role models to look up to and relate to.
Photos by Collier Schorr.
L'Uomo Vogue gennaio 2019, pag.214