david friend is the model and saint laurent muse you need to know
The multi-faceted young talent — who's appeared in Anthony Vaccarello's campaigns, fashion films, and runway shows — tells i-D Mexico about his motivations and his work as a farmer. Introducing the unstoppable David Friend.
David Friend is one of those young creatives who can do everything. He's a model, artist, photographer, stylist, and designer. And at only 18 years old, he's managed to capture the fashion world's attention. A muse to Anthony Vaccarello, the new Creative Director of Saint Laurent, Friend personifies the label's new masculine aesthetic. He was the only male model to walk in the Italian-Belgian designer's eagerly anticipated debut collection for the legendary French house. David has also starred in the campaigns and fashion films of the brand's new era.
Friend was raised in two worlds: fields and beaches. He hails from a small town in Florida, and grew up surrounded by horses. He's the youngest of ten siblings, and describes his family as 'hippie.' Now Los Angeles-based, this multi-faceted talent with prominent cheekbones is about to explode in the industry. Currently in the midst of a modeling whirlwind, Friend is also keenly interested in other areas of fashion (he's worked as an assistant to stylist Sean Knight, and is an aspiring designer himself). For David, there are no limits when it comes to dreaming.
i-D Mexico spoke with him to discuss his modeling highlights and plans for the future. Photographed by Angela Baltra, meet one of the most exciting youngsters in the current fashion scene.
What did you want to do when you were a child?
I thought I was going to dedicate myself to drawing, but at 12, I started to see something really cool in garments. I guess since then I've wanted to design, so I've been taking notes about the industry.
What does it mean to be a model to you?
It means an opportunity to do the things that interest me. I am everywhere and I am very introspective, so if I were working for someone else, and not for myself, I would probably go crazy.
Tell us about a crucial moment in your career as a model.
I started meeting cool people on sets, and I eventually built relationships with them. I began to feel that people supported me, but I was just very happy to have a decent income. Things got serious after the first campaign with Saint Laurent.
What's your relationship like with Anthony Vaccarello?
What have been your favorite moments in modeling so far?
The Saint Laurent campaign was very cool. They all have been, but that one in particular meant something different. I've just done something in New York and I'm very excited about it, but I'll keep it a secret for now.
What is the best advice you have received?
"Do not have sex with everyone in Los Angeles."
What do you like to do in your free time?
Draw, drive, and look for pieces of vintage clothing.
Who is your favorite designer?
I do not have a favorite designer, but I have enjoyed what Martine Rose has released. I'm also into the classics by Jean Paul Gaultier, Number (N) ine, and forever Raf Simons.
Which photographer (alive or dead) would you like to be photographed by?
I honestly have no idea. I do not think much of it because I like to do photoshoots with friends.
What is your favorite band?
Violent Femmes, because I felt a little lost when I was younger. I somehow relate to everything, from their name to their style and lyrics.
What do you like to listen to when you feel creative?
Jazz or blues. It makes me feel cool and elegant, which probably leads me to feel confident, and that leads to a better result. Of course, all that is an assumption.
Apart from being a model, what other jobs have you had?
I worked as a dog trainer for a very short time, but it was training for attack dogs. You have to teach the dog how to attack and stop attacking by commands. Later, I worked on a farm in Malibu. That was a dream, but modeling took a lot of time, so I had to stop. After that, I assisted a stylist named Sean Knight, who supported me a lot and still does. And that's when I realized that I really liked fashion and that it could be my future.
Who inspires you?
That's a very difficult question. If I had to choose someone I do not know, Bob Dylan and Bill Murray. In my daily life, probably my mom.
If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
I was raised to really care for the planet. [My family] does things like harvest our food, reuse and recycle, dry our clothes outdoors, not eat meat, and generally don't produce so much garbage. So I would try to make our children care about the environment and our world.
If they made a movie of your life, who would play you?
My brother, because we are very different in every way. Imagining him recreating the strange moments in my life would be enough satisfaction for me.
Text Diego Menchaca
Photography Angela Baltra