Hari Nef Guest-Edited “Transversal Style Magazine” Candy’s Latest Issue

At a recent panel held by Business of Fashion, transgender model-slash-actress Hari Nef criticized the way in which the industry fetishizes diversity. “There’s this subdivision of fashion bookings which also fetishizes diversity as an end. It’s not like you can just be a model — you have to be a trans model, or a black model, or a Latina model. They kind of bring you in and it’s like Diversity Day,” she stated. Madrid-based publisher Luis Venegas does not belong to this subdivision. In 2009, Venegas founded “the first transversal style magazine,” Candy. For the glossy’s latest issue, Venegas enlisted Nef’s help in creating a work of fashion art that, though filled with transgender faces, is the polar opposite of a casting stunt.

“When I started Candy, it was rare to see all these representations in a magazine,” Venegas told Business of Fashion. “Now there are many more that embrace the idea of diversity. But I wanted to do a fashion magazine. It was not a political statement I had in mind, I never thought of Candy as a political magazine…even though it is.”

“Luis realized that in this pivotal, rather high stakes moment for my community, it was very important to place representation in the hands of the represented,” Nef said of her involvement in the sartorial (and social) project. “I think he realized bringing in a new voice — if only temporarily for a single collaboration — would be productive.”

The result is a dreamy love letter to transgender beauty. In one Nan Goldin-lensed editorial, Siobhan Atwell, Misty Pollen, Tyler Ford, Matt Holmes, Torraine Futurum, Aurel Haize Odogbo and Mel Shimkovitz model Alessandro Michele’s bright, snake-embellished designs. In another, a silvery, silk-clad Andreja Pejic gazes piercingly at the Terry Richardson-manned camera. The list of breathtaking features goes on and on. And, in keeping with Candy‘s mission, the only non-trans model to make an appearance is the doll-like Audrey Marnay (a mid-1990s runway sensation), who Nef included as a nod to Canadian fashion designer Vejas.

Nef is all about sharing her “wealth of opportunities” with peers. In addition to featuring Veja’s work (which Marnay wears), many of the above-mentioned models are Nef’s close friends. “The way I see beauty, fashion, style is very much based on the people around me. Many of them feature prominently in the magazine,” said Nef. (Insert “plug” emoji here.) “Dara, Torraine Futurum, Avie Acosta — they’re new to the modeling scene and the fashion world, but they’re also my girlfriends, my trans sisters, and I’m inspired by them because of what we share, but also because of how we differ, and how they move forward in this industry with a point of view and an aesthetic that is completely different from mine.”

Suffice it to say Candy Issue 10 (of which there are 1,500 numbered copies available) belongs in your fashion archives. Keep it as a coffee table book, a source of outfit inspiration, an artifact of a time when, in the midst of “a war brewing… against LGBT bodies, against people of color and immigrants,” fashion frontrunners got together to celebrate diverse realities.

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