The Future of Fashion, According to the Experts

Eight photographers from around the globe show us how they see the future of fashion.

Nicole Ngai

“My work deals with representations of femininity and sexuality, a narrative that traditionally has been controlled by men,” says Ngai, who was raised in Singapore and London. Ngai believes the industry is in need of a shift to a more feminine perspective; what she calls a sensitive lens. “In order to dismantle the male gaze,” she says, “I think a tender approach is needed.”

Katie McCurdy

Maison Margiela Recicla wool vintage coat, price upon request; available by special order at Loro Piana Hyde ankle boots, $1,750; KATIE McCURDY

“I’m excited about the future of fashion because it presents us with a new way to think about clothes while remaining environmentally conscious,” says McCurdy, who took a self-portrait on location in Pennsylvania. “I grew up in clothes from secondhand shops. As I became older, those same clothes were given a new life when passed down to my younger sister. Today, sustainable fashion is crafted specifically for this purpose—to reimagine what existing materials can be and to give them a full life many times over.”

Related: The Future of Fashion Week Is Going to Look a Lot Different

Paul Kooiker

From left: Ninamounah, Attack Tailored Apron suits in upcycled virgin wool, $800 each; Litay wears Gucci flannel dress, Miu Miu socks & shoes; Danielle wears Gucci flannel coat, Dolce & Gabbana cotton blouse, Miu Miu shoes. From left: PAUL KOOIKER; MICHAL CHELBIN

For his vision of the future of fashion, the Dutch photographer worked in collaboration with a sustainable Amsterdam-based fashion brand, Ninamounah. His subjects, he says, are a father and son, captured in a topsy-turvy clinch as they grapple with their reality. “They are trying to find a balance between fighting and hugging in a very chaotic world.”

Michal Chelbin

When considering the future of fashion shoots, the Israel-based Chelbin found herself irrevocably drawn to the present—and to the interior, a reflection of the time she spent quarantining, and what it revealed about what is actually required for creating images. Without big teams, or splashy locations, “we shoot more at home,” Chelbin says, and a more intimate take on the clothes comes through. Here, her daughter Danielle joins Litay, a model, at Chelbin’s home.

Luca Khouri

“As much as I appreciate the ephemeral pace of fashion, it is a beautiful process to invite the people you love into your image making—to connect with the things and the people that are grounded in the unconditional spirit,” says the London-based Khouri, who photographed his best friend on the beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex, England. He sees the image as an expression of seeking solace in community. “When something is lost, we march straight toward what has left our periphery,” he says. “This is the human endeavor. One might hope that the notion of the human collective has now risen to the forefront of our hearts.”

Related: Here’s What Fashion and Beauty Brands Are Doing to Be More Sustainable

Lia Clay Miller

From left: Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello latex bustier dress, $4,590; Salvatore Ferragamo viscose satin dress, $3,100. From left: LIA CLAY MILLER; LUCA KHOURI

“Sometimes it seems silly to revel in the simplicity of everyday life, but often trans women are not given the privilege of simplicity,” says Miller. “It’s not lost on me, ever, when taking an image—especially of myself—that I am here, doing what I always dreamed of doing as a trans woman,” because of the legacy of those trans women, especially Black trans women, who came before her. These days, she notes, “fashion seems mostly excessive, and something that has to undertake huge strides to rethink how and what it lends its power to. If it is to survive this current revolution, it needs to be in the hands of those who know how to wield it.”

Andres Burgos

From left: Vegas wears Prada shirt, Sylvia wears Dior, Ana wears Bottega Veneta, Lumi wears Hermès Madison Avenue scarf, Frida wears Gabriela Hearst, Nicole wears Gabriela Hearst, Dior, Jimmy Choo; Orange Culture Mena iridescent shirt. From left: ANDRES BURGOS; STEPHEN TAYO

“We are the azúcar that Celia Cruz sings about, the palomas negras of Chavela Vargas, the travelers on a viaje a pie by Fernando González. ¡Somos Internacionales, como canta Bomba Estéreo!” says Burgos, who photographed an entirely Latinx cast he calls his “chosen family.”

Stephen Tayo

“Lagos was where I got my education in the diverse ways people can express themselves and define their identities through fashion,” says Tayo, who took his self-portrait wearing a Nigerian brand, Orange Culture, in the famously stylish city where he grew up. “My subjects are Lagosians, not Nigerians, not Africans,” he says. It’s his focus on these distinctions that helps Tayo engage with the various different cultures within Africa, for other Africans from the diaspora and non-Africans alike. “My work is a blueprint,” he says. “It unapologetically shows the value of acknowledging and celebrating specificity, and names the disrespect that comes with flattening our unique experiences.”