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Ten non-model-models who stole the show at NYFW

From designer David Moses to actor and poet Grace Dunham, these are the non-agency signed talents who made their mark at this week’s shows

This season at New York Fashion Week, we’ve seen a host of non-model-models or “nodels” take to the catwalk. Though not signed to an agency like their professional counterparts, these people have booked shows, sometimes many of them. Mostly part of the city’s thriving creative scene, these nodels’ appearances on the catwalk provide even further proof that you don’t need to reflect a specific standard of beauty to be a encapsulate the vision of a brand. While many of them walked for underground fashion label Eckhaus Latta, they have been booked for other brands too, such as Telfar, Vaquera and Gypsy Sport. Here are ten nodel faces you need to get familiar with.

The only in the list to design as well as walk on a show at New York Fashion Week, David Moses part of emerging designer label Moses Gauntlett Cheng made up of him, Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng. The brand, which is now in its third season at NYFW, debuting its SS16 collection at the VFiles show, has become known for its tenderly punk style of handmade quality. Moses hit the runway for Eckhaus Latta (for whom he also featured in the brand’s AW15 film) and Vaquera.

Grace Dunham made their fashion debut at Eckhaus Latta’s artist-heavy show. Wearing a sheer top and a short skirt, the actress, poet and younger sibling to Lena Dunham defied gender binaries by simultaneously exposing breasts and defiantly unshaven legs. “I love Mike and Zoe's clothes and I love what they do for gender,” Dunham stated. “I think they cast amazing people, and I wouldn't want to walk in any other show.”

Like Dunham, hip-hop producer and Blood Orange singer Dev Hynes walked for Eckhaus Latta, alongside artists India Salvör Menuez, Juliana Huxtable, Claire Christerson and Michael Bailey Gates. However it’s not the first time he’s worked with the designers – a long-time collaborator, he performed at their show last season and scored their NSFW campaign film.

Wearing a white gown that seemed to belong to the golden age of Hollywood, the Gossip singer took to Marc Jacobs’ red carpetted runway, walking alongside supermodel and singer Karen Elson and a host of Dazed cover stars including Molly Bair, Lineisy Montero, Kendall Jenner, Binx Walton and Natalie Westling. Although she hasn’t been in the fashion spotlight for a while, Ditto is no stranger to the catwalk: in 2010 she walked for Jean-Paul Gaultier wearing an elaborate corset, festooned with ribbons of pleated organza and floral appliqués.

Discovered by Mothermgmt’s Kevin Amato, Tawan was among those featured in Nicopanda’s AW15 campaign. For this series of shots by Yuki James, Formichetti selected people not for their lithe limbs and sharp cheekbone bones but because they are “expressive, beautiful and sexy in their everyday life.” The 22-year old started the season walking for TelfarMoses Gauntlett Cheng and, you guessed it, Eckhaus Latta.

With 881k Instagram followers, the stripper, actress and Grace Jones fan from the Bronx rose to fame on the app thanks to her candid photos, viral videos (such as this one) and DGAF attitude. Her NYFW debut came after being scouted by DKNY’s Anthony Conti and she went on to walk for Gypsy Sport, alongside the rest of the brand’s unconventionally beautiful model army.

With a body of work referencing subversive subcultures, Bjarne Melgaard’s work tackles prudish attitude to sexuality head on. His first show in New York back in 2001 consisted of a series of sculptures of apes performing sex acts – and although it has changed since then, there’s no toning down. Melgaard recently collaborated with art-slash-pornography magazine Baron for their Future of Sex issue and, this week, walked alongside fellow artists down the Eckhaus Latta runway.

Part of Nicola Formichetti’s army of Instagram-cast cool kids, original New Yorker and marketing director Richie Shazam has been a muse and collaborator for many up and coming designers for his genderfucking style and inspiring persona. Seemingly drawing from S&M in his personal wardrobe – featuring leather gloves and collars – he was cast in Moses Gauntlett Cheng (by Kevin Amato) along with Vaquera.

Featured in the Autumn 2015 issue of Dazed, Alexandra Marzella’sinterests extend far beyond standing in front of a camera. Exploring the area of self-portraiture, being open about her sexuality and exploits make her a very interesting model. Far away from just pretty, she analyses her self-image and addresses it in a way that is very time-and-generation specific – while still very real. Friend and collaborator of Hari Nef and Petra Collins, she walked for Eckhaus, Rowan and Lou Dallas.

The browless babe and New York scenester has been making the rounds in the fashion scene as of late. Appearing at Vaquera’s rebellious NYFW show with smudged gray lips and doll-like drawn-on brows, she curates an Instagram full of whimsical quotations and video selfies of her New York life.