Meet the new fashion industry faces of 2020

The Get Up Stand Up Issue presents you with a handy guide for the ones to watch. 👀

by i-D Staff
23 December 2019, 8:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's The Get Up Stand Up Issue, no. 358, Winter 2019. Order your copy here.


Mika Schneider, 18, Japan

Where are you from?
France and Japan. They’re very different countries and each has its pros and cons. I think I’ve picked up elements from both — my childhood was like a patchwork.

How was your fashion week?
It was awesome. I had no particular expectations, but I was surprised by the fact that models need to eat more than people think. We use a lot of energy and work really hard, it’s like being an athlete.

What are you going to do now it’s over?
Get a haircut and hang out in Tokyo with my mum.


Achenrin Madit, 17, USA

Where are you from and what’s it like?
I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s very quiet, the complete opposite of the hustle and bustle of New York. I was raised by a single mother who taught me that my self worth doesn’t come from anyone but me.

How was your fashion week?
It was a wild ride from start to finish. Being completely honest, I would have been totally content with doing one show, but the universe had different plans.

What was your highlight?
I think my highlight would have to be Miu Miu, my last show of the season. That’s when the reality of all this really started to hit me. When I finished I genuinely could not believe what I’d accomplished.


Aylah Mae Peterson, 21, Australia

How did you get scouted?
Well, it’s quite embarrassing. I actually entered a model competition through a magazine in Australia called Dolly when I was 15. I asked my 11-year-old neighbour to take photos of me. I sent them in and a week later, while I was rehearsing for a musical, I got a call to organise a meeting.

What was the funniest thing that happened?
I was up on the top of the Eiffel Tower shooting with a very sheer top on. I said, “Hang on, I have to call my mum and tell her… she will never believe I have my tits out on the Eiffel Tower!”

What are you going to do now it’s over?
Binge-watch a load of TV.


Elise van Iterson, 21, the Netherlands

What’s the best advice anyone gave you?
Don’t care about what the world wants you to be, listen to your intuition and live in the moment.

What change in the model industry would you like to see in 2020?
Personality is what defines beauty in 2020. It doesn’t matter where people come from or how they look. What is important is that models dare to show their true selves and set an example for the world.

If you could have the answer to any question in the world, what would you ask?
I don’t want answers, I like to wonder.


Sculy Mejia, 17, The Dominican Republic

Where are you from and what’s it like?
I’m from Rio San Juan, a small town in the north of the Dominican Republic. There are lots of beaches and beautiful lagoons nearby. I grew up in a humble, hard-working family. We didn’t have many material possessions but we did have a great childhood.

How was your fashion week? Was it different to how you imagined it?
I was totally overwhelmed and I still haven’t quite processed it. A few weeks ago, I got on a plane for the first time in my life, and now all this. I only saw fashion week on TV and social media, I never imagined that I would be part of it.

What was your highlight?
Naomi Campbell grabbed me after the Saint Laurent show and told me how beautiful I am and that she was so proud of me… I was so stunned that I couldn’t even respond.


Grace Valentine, USA

How did you get scouted?
I was scouted by a New York models agent in Times Square this past summer. A group of boys were breakdancing and my mom dared me to jump in. That’s when I was interrupted! Making my fashion week debut for Louis Vuitton was really not what I had in mind for myself when I came to NY on vacation!

What would you be doing if you weren’t modelling?
I would probably still be working at the ice cream shop in my hometown.

If you could have the answer to any question in the world, what would you ask?
Who killed Tupac?


Martu Pacheco, 16, Argentina

What was your highlight this fashion week?
Closing the Givenchy show! It just felt sensational, I was so excited and nervous at the same time. It’s a moment I will never forget.

What do you think we need more of in the industry?
We need to be more environmentally conscious. Our planet needs all the help it can get. We need to be considerate about the waste we generate and the consequences it will have for future generations.

What’s your dream?
I want to give back to my family everything they’ve given me; love, happiness and safety.


Lola Nicon, 20, France

How did you get scouted?
It was at a festival in Belgium. I was queuing up to get some water and someone asked me if I was a model. I said, “Not yet!” It turns out they were from an agency. Well now, I guess I can say that I am a model!

What was your fashion week highlight?
I got to do the Louis Vuitton show and it was magical. On the day I thought I would die from stress but I was actually just really happy the whole time, it was so much fun!

What would you change about the fashion industry?
I’m just starting and I haven’t noticed anything really negative. Ask me again in a year or two?


Akon Changkou, 22, Australia

Where are you from and what’s it like?
I was born in South Sudan, then my family and I migrated to Australia in 2006 because of the war. My mum did a great job of hiding any struggle we were facing when we were in Sudan but growing up in Australia was a blessing. It’s such a great country and I’m so happy I get to call it home.

What was the funniest thing that happened during fashion week?
The funniest thing was this vivid dream I had the night before my first show. I was stuck in a never-ending maze full of obstacles. I must have been so nervous! But it was an incredible experience, one that I would do over and over again.

When do you feel most beautiful?
When I’m happy.


Zso Varju, 21, Hungary

How was your fashion week?
I really enjoyed this new challenge. Sometimes everything was way too fast, and other times it was extremely slow. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Even now, I have no idea how to describe it.

When do you feel most beautiful?
When I’ve just had a full eight hours of sleep.

What are you doing now fashion week is over?
I’m going to a spa in Budapest with two of my best friends to get charged with positive vibes.


Mads Vogelsang, USA

How was your fashion week?
Never in a million years did I think this would be happening in my life, so my fashion week was major to say the least. The whole experience was a blast, I had the best time. The friendships and connections that I made with people were completely unexpected. I really didnʼt imagine that and I’m so thankful for them.

Whatʼs the best advice you’ve been given yet?
Donʼt be scared to take what you want, but never be a dick about it.

When do you feel most beautiful?
I feel most beautiful when I first wake up. My lips are a little puffy, face looks fresh, hair a little messy, and Iʼm in my sweats. I think I feel most beautiful then because thatʼs when Iʼm most me, in my natural habitat.


Sihana Shalaj, 22, Kosovo
How was your fashion week? What is different to how you imagined it?
It was the most incredible week of my life! I feel as if I was watching a movie in fast forward that never ended.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given yet?
Buy an alarm clock so I don’t oversleep and miss castings.

When do you feel most beautiful?
After a glass of wine.


Photography Stef Mitchell
Photography assistance Florent Vindimian and Adrien Thibaud.
Production Ashleigh Hayward.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Models Achenrin Madit at Cover. Maty Fall and Sihana Shalaj at IMG. Sacha Quenby at Women. Lola Nicon at Rebel. Akon Changkou at New Icon. Sculy Mejia, Aylah Mae Peterson and Zso Varju at Premium. Martu Pacheco at Oui. Mika Schneider at The Society. Mads Vogelsang at Next. Grace Valentine at New York Models and Elise Van Iterson at Elite.

All clothing models’ own.

stef mitchell
the get up stand up issue