The traditional power suit gets ripped up, torn apart and put back together. For who better wield the power in NYC; the home of creatives, punks and heathens than a group of self-made queens.
As an epicenter for both community and individualism, New York is the place where people come to be simply themselves. The New York underground scene has for long hosted pioneering movements and served as a groundbreaking creative hub. Yet in our present and ever-connected world today merging subcultures with pop culture, new communities emerge where individuals bond by the need to express themselves freely without conforming.
The Forumist brought together five creative natives living and breathing New York’s scene today. Meet dancer and social media star Parker Kit Hill. After graduating from Jeffrey Ballet school, he made a name for himself by seamlessly moving between dance and fashion worlds through his popular social media persona. His way of mixing high fashion with humor and dance has caught the attention of a dedicated fan base and created a celeb following. You’ll find him standing out in a fashion crowd, or most recently, starring in Thom Browne’s latest fashion campaign shoot at Coney Island in New York.
By boldly pushing boundaries and being fearlessly outrageous, Kyra Cherie makes art out of herself. While teaching dance and cardio fitness and modelling by daytime, her night job is exotic dancing and hosting go-go dancing at parties. She is currently working on her first EP, incorporating mediums like theater, dancing, singing, fashion, and makeup into one project. “I think the fact that I work at a strip club is very telling of my 90s/2k sex icon inspired style incorporated with experimentation with fashion influenced by everything that makes me and inspires me“, she says.
Growing up in London with American and Jamaican roots Alva Claire moved to New York to pursue her modelling career. Since then, she has made a mark with her personal style in a range of beauty and fashion campaigns. Her humble, bold and empowering personality shines bright in outlets like Allure, Document Journal, and The Cut, but most notably Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty campaigns that woke the industry up to a diversity shift.
It’s not for nothing that Vogue has compared drag-queen West Dakota’s star quality to Lady Gaga’s. Combining her weekly shows with modeling, West Dakota’s brilliance as a performer has earned her the title of ‘Drag Queen of the Year’ at the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards. And this is just the beginning. Her newest performance SUPPER can be seen at Ace Hotel in New York in a creative collaboration with a world champion competitive eater and a nail artist.
Varsha Thapa has been named the first Nepalese model to make it on an international level and has become a shining star on the New York runway, working with fashion nobles like L’Oréal, Moncler, Vivienne Westwood, Gap, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Vars. Her signature braids have been shot by Inez and Vinoodh and graced Nike campaigns. In addition to her stunning looks, Varsha also stands in the spotlight as a singer with her musical band Sita Virgin.
Words by Karolina Brock
Photography by Cesar Love Alexandre
Styling by Karolina Brock
Hair by Yasu Nakamura
Make-up by Ayana Awata
Talent: Alva Claire (at Wilhelmina), Parker Kit Hill (at Kev Mgmt), Varsha Thapa (at APM New York), Kyra Cherie and West Dakota
Photographer’s assistants: Juliet Sabella and Carli Adams
Stylist’s assistants: Sandrine Francois, Jackiline Arredondo and Madison Headlee
Thank you to Pier 59 Studios
#1 From left: Parker Kit Hill wears suit by A.P.C., socks Parker’s own; West Dakota wears suit by Richard James, hair clip by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise, heels West Dakota’s own; Alva Claire wears shirt coat by Moon Choi, shoes by Calvin Luo, earrings Alva’s own; Kyra Cherie wears a suit by Eckhaus Latta, choker and platform heels Kyra’s own, the rest of the jewelry by Martine Ali
#2 From left: Parker Kit Hill wears shirt by Acne Studios, trousers by A.P.C, boots by MISBHV, earrings by Machete; Alva Claire wears suit jacket by No sense, shoes by Adieu, earrings Alva’s own, stockings stylist’s own; West Dakota wears suit by Each x Other, boots by MISBHV, earrings by Machete
#3 Parker Kit Hill wears suit by A.P.C., dress by Hyke
#4 Kyra Cherie wears suit by Eckhaus Latta, choker Kayra’s won, other jewelry by Martine Ali; Parker Kit Hill wears suit by A.P.C.
#5 Alva Claire wears beige suit jacket by Wan Hung, grey suit jacket by Richard James, shirt coat by Moon Choi, earring’s Alva’s own
#6 Alva Claire wears beige suit jacket by Wan Hung, grey suit jacket by Richard James, shirt coat by Moon Choi, earring’s Alva’s own, shoes by Calvin Luo
#7 West Dakota wears suit jacket by Richard James, crystal chainmail halter by Kelsey Randall
#8 West Dakota wears suit by Richard James, bandeau by Moon Choi, rings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise
#9 Varsha Tharpa wears shirt, trousers and shoes by Calvin Luo, earrings by Metrix Jewelry, wolf ring by Captive Jewelry, other rings by Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Surprise
#10 Parker Kit Hill wears suit by A.P.C, pins by Martine Ali, earrings by Machete