You may have heard about Anti-agency. It is the model, talent and casting company that was founded last year by London-based stylist Lucy Greene and fashion consultant Pandora Lennard. According to the girls, "Anti-agency isn't your average casting agency", but instead, is an "agency is for people who could’ve been models and decided not to, for people who are too cool to be models and people with real lives on the verge of exploding in music, fashion, art, illustration & creative industries, etc." While Greene and Lennard hand select London-based girls and boys with "personality, individual style and talent" primarily in mind, don't be fooled. Many of the faces on Anti-agency's board are model material. Chris T could pass for runway star Simon Kotyk. Bella N has some seriously striking cheekbones, and Alice could probably fit right in on the runway at Saint Laurent.
Interestingly, unlike virtually all other model boards, the Anti-agency models' (or "Anti models") stats aren't listed. The founders said this is intentional: "We specifically choose to use 'head shots' so that people aren’t judged on their height or weight by clients." They did say, however, that their roster includes models ranging from sizes 6-14 and 5'4" to 6'2" of all ethnicities.
Anti-agency is doing that other agencies, namely, IMG (under the direction of Ivan Bart), have alluded to: Representing a more diverse group of individuals (and I'm not just referring to race). "We want to be an ageless, raceless, weightless agency," IMG Models Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ivan Bart last year, and it seems that this is a large part of what Anti-agency is doing. Greene and Lennard are also, simultaneously, reaching a bit of a different client. Not just the high fashion, supermodel-seeking fashion brand. You may recall that VFILES' MADE FASHION show, which took place this past February fashion week in New York, featured what may be considered some unconventional casting (courtesy of the forward-thinking Preston Chaunsumlit). Anti-agency's Tyler and Anna would likely have been welcome additions to that show's lineup of models.
Much like VFILES, the highly in-demand New York-based social media platform, e-commerce site and brick and mortar store, which was founded by industry vet Julie Anne Quay in 2012 and caters to the fashion-forward/internet culture-inspired youth, Greene and Lennard are certainly thinking beyond the most conventional notion of fashion. Like VFILES, Anti-agency has identified a niche in the fashion market; one that includes brands and thus, consumers, attracted to a less traditional take on fashion. And it makes sense, as this is a noticeable turn the industry is taking.
Other agencies have begun to move towards a less strict identification of "beauty" over the past several years, as have designers. Andrej Pejic took the industry by storm not too long ago; covering i-D and an array of other mags, walking for Rick Owens, Thom Browne and Bespoken menswear shows, as well as a bunch of Jean Paul Gaultier, DKNY, and Jeremy Scott womenswear shows. Ford signed Casey Legler to its mens board; first female to ever sign exclusively to the famed agency's mens roster. Similarly, Elliot Sailors, who began her career walking exclusively in womens shows, has since made the switch to walking in mens shows in an attempt to extend the life of her career. Wilhelmina's Margaux Brooke, with her very short, blunt-cut bangs and Los Angeles vibe, is a bit of an unconventional beauty, as well; something RED Models, which signed heavily tattooed model, Bradley Soileau, in 2012, is known for. This all follows on Dolce & Gabbana's street casting of models, as well as Saint Laurent's, and Rick Owens' and DKNY?'s use of nodels (non-models) in recent shows, as well as Lanvin's nodel-centric ad campaign for Fall 2012. Online retailer, Betabrand recently announced that it featured PhD students in its latest ad campaign. Barneys casted transgender models for its Spring/Summer 2014 campaign and Diesel tapped heavily tattooed boys and a wheelchair-bound fashion editor and blogger. Essentially, Anti-agency is just responding to the demand for non-conventional models under one roof. Something other, more established agencies have been a bit hesitant to fully embrace.
As we know, fashion is inherently cyclical and heavily tied to trends, and at the moment, anti-supermodels are very much in style. In this way, Anti-agency is at the forefront. As for how it will evolve when the call for tall, skinny white Eastern European girls returns (not that it has gone away), we will have to wait and see.