While it could be argued that designers, editors and stylists form the backbone of the men’s fashion ecosystem, male models are very much it’s handsome, chiselled face.
These almost otherworldly, living mannequins have been providing a way for labels to showcase their work while simultaneously shaping the sartorial decisions of us mere mortals, ever since the word ‘runway’ first began to creep into the menswear lexicon.
Now, in the social media age, these facts have never been so apparent. The world’s male models have greater influence in the world of fashion and beyond today than ever before. Which means that if you’re man who takes his style seriously, it’s imperative for you know who they are.
Keeping that firmly in mind, it’s with great pleasure that we present Ape’s edit of the world’s most influential male models – and why they’re worth keeping your eye on.
If ever there were a living embodiment of that quintessentially British essence of style the whole world goes crazy for, veteran David Gandy is surely it.
One of the few male models capable of spearheading campaigns for labels ranging from Dolce & Gabbana right through to Marks & Spencer – and making them look equally appealing – ‘Dandy Gandy’ has forged a career off the back of his distinctive look, unique sense of style and deep-rooted understanding of menswear.
One of the most prominent male models alive today, Gandy also keeps the flag flying for tailoring. Which, in an increasingly casual fashion landscape, is something to admire.
Probably best known as the face of Ralph Lauren, Tyson Beckford is nothing short of a fully-fledged, fashion industry veteran.
Boasting well over two decades of experience, the vast majority of which spent mingling in the upper echelons, the New Yorker has served as a key figure in the ongoing battle to make fashion more diverse in terms of both race and gender.
As if that weren’t impressive enough, Beckford’s fashion credentials have seen him transition into television as the host of America’s Make Me A Supermodel. All things considered, it’s no wonder Vogue crowned him the greatest male model of all time.
Most men’s old prom photos serve as nothing more than a source of mild embarrassment. Sean O’Pry’s, on the other hand, landed him a highly-lucrative career, modelling for the biggest fashion names on the face of the earth.
Scouted from his pictures on Myspace (ask your dad), he quickly went on to help shape the face of menswear over the decade that followed.
Hailing from Georgia, USA, O’Pry counts the likes of D&G, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Belstaff and Ralph Lauren among his clients, and frequently finds himself at the top of ‘Most Successful Models’ lists in all the most respected magazines.
Lucky Blue Smith
In recent years, social media has brought a new platform to the world of fashion that beforehand would’ve seemed completely unfathomable. It’s something that older models strive to keep on top of. However, for younger trendsetters like Lucky Blue Smith, using social media as a tool of their trade is just second nature.
Signed at the age of 12, Smith has been in the throes of the fashion industry for the past decade. In that time, he’s walked runways for everyone who’s anyone and accrued a not unimpressive 3.3m keen followers on Instagram.
Lucky Blue is part of a new generation of male models. A generation that have a wider reach than any that went before them. The face of fashion is changing, and this trailblazer is leading the charge.
No list of male models could ever be considered complete without the inclusion of Spanish tastemaker, style king and all-round menswear legend, Jon Kortajarena.
A resident of Shoreditch, one of London’s trendiest neighbourhoods, Kortajarena splits his time between fronting campaigns for high-fashion and high-street brands alike. You’ll also find him acting and keeping his Instagram followers satiated with some of the most stylish shots you’ll see on social media.
He often says that if he hadn’t become involved in modelling, he would’ve liked to get into photography. However, we’re sure we aren’t alone in thinking it would’ve been a crying shame for him to have ended up behind the camera as opposed to in front of it.
As far as first gigs go, Calvin Klein isn’t a bad one. That’s where this Hertfordshire lad cut his teeth not long after being scouted at the age of 15.
Over the course of his career, Cheshire has also modelled for labels and designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Orlebar Brown, Stella McCartney, Missoni, Hackett, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister Co., Vivienne Westwood, Gap Inc. and Marks and Spencer. The latter reported a 50% increase in men’s swimwear sales when he was fronting their campaign.
While still modelling, Cheshire has also started to dabble in design. His Che menswear label’s debut collection dropped in 2019 and focuses on premium resortwear that mixes tailoring and sportswear influences.
Discovered by a scout in Canada one week and walking the runway for Gucci in New York the next, Noah Mills’ rise to fame was nothing short of meteoric.
Listed as a Vogue Top 10 male model and touted by Models.com as one of the most sought-after names in the industry, Mills has appeared in runway shows and featured in campaigns for most major fashion brands.
When he’s not being shot for ads, he’s being shot for films and TV. The Canadian model branched into acting in 2010 and has since appeared in a number of films and television series.
Okay, ao A$AP Rocky may not be a model by trade, but to failing to acknowledge his influence in fashion through his work for names like Dior, Calvin Klein and DKNY would be unfair.
The Harlem-born rapper’s love for fashion is no secret. His personal aesthetic has long served as proof that he’s one of the most stylish men in hip hop, but it was when he became the face of Dior’s FW16 campaign that his modelling career really took off.
Today, A$AP Rocky is known just as much for his fashion credentials as he is for his music. He’s gone from rapping about haute-couture houses in his music to fronting campaigns for them and now counts the likes of Raf Simons and Rick Owens as friends rather than just name drops in a song.
A proud member of the social media generation, and a fully fledged Instagram influencer, Luka Sabbat is one of a new breed of male models. Those giving their older peers a serious run for their money in the internet popularity stakes.
As well as historic high-fashion houses like D&G and Hugo Boss, the 19-year-old has walked shows for more boundary-pushing names including the likes of Off-White, Raf Simons and more. He also helped to showcase several seasons of Kanye West’s YEEZY range.
Born to a stylist and a designer in New York and raised in Paris, Luka was always around fashion. This background, coupled with his social media savviness, created a perfect storm – giving rise to one of the most influential figures in fashion today.
When asked by French Vogue what his favourite hairstyling product is, 30-year-old supermodel Simon Nessman answers: “the ocean”. And his favourite hairstylist? “The wind”, obviously.
Nessman’s responses to those two questions are telling of his approach to modelling and life in general. This is a man who might be shooting an ad campaign for Givenchy in NYC one day and scaling the north face of a mountain in his native British Columbia the next.
The Canadian model frequently finds himself in front of the lenses of some of the fashion industry’s top photographers and his client list reads like a who’s who of all the industry’s biggest designers. Still, when the lights are off and the shutters have ceased their clicking, you’ll find him unwinding in nature rather than following a draconian workout regimen in the gym. It could be surfing, snowboarding, climbing or sailing, but one thing it will never be is a treadmill.
A familiar face on the London street style scene, Richard Biedul is a man who knows how to dress well, yet isn’t afraid of taking risks.
He may be a former solicitor but when it comes to fashion, Richard is anything but stuffy. After all, who else could conceivably pair a seersucker suit with a baseball cap and make it look totally natural? No one.
When he’s not whipping Fashion Week photographers up into a frenzy of clicks and flashes, he can be found walking shows for British brands such as Oliver Spencer and Richard James, along with international heavy hitters like Canali. Not bad for a courtroom official who was scouted at a pub.
He’s been described as menswear’s answer to Cara Delevingne. A statement that should go some way towards colouring your understanding of just how influential this 20-year-old trailblazer is.
The young Brit was spotted by a retired model who suggested he should go in for an agency meeting. He was signed on the spot and within months found himself walking shows for Burberry, Armani and Stone Island to name just a few.
This is made all the more impressive by the fact that Kit has just four years of experience under his belt. And when you consider his ever-expanding CV (and Instagram following), you can’t help but get the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in years to come.
Hannover-born Huebl has made light work of this male model business, having fronted campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and DKNY as well as being featured in every fashion publication worth its salt. The 42-year-old has also become a bona fide street style hero within his own right and even managed to win the affections of Olivia Palermo in the process.
All of this is due in no small part to his seemingly effortless sense of style and ability to make even the most basic of outfits look fit for a spot of Fashion Week peacocking.
Sweden may be known for stripped-back styling and minimalist design but native Alex Lundqvist’s modelling-career highlights have been anything but subtle.
From humble beginnings in independent publications, Lundqvist’s career went from 10 to 100 when he was scouted by photographer Bill Weber in the mid 1990s. You’re more likely to find him on the golf course than the cover of GQ today, but in his heyday, the 47-year-old was one of the original male supermodels, working on campaigns for everyone from Hugo Boss and Versace to Oliver Peoples.
Any hobby that carries the risk of small purple bruises all over the body probably isn’t the best idea for anyone who takes their shirt off for a living. Yet in spite of the risks, Lundqvist is a highly accomplished paintballer and his brother Max is a fully-fledged professional player. Not just a pretty face after all.
There are overachievers, then there’s whatever Hu Bing is. Over the course of his life he’s represented China in the Olympic Games, established himself as a serious actor, and worked for many of the world’s most respected fashion houses as a model.
After a more-than-promising start as professional rower, Hu was forced to drop out of his sport due to an injury at the age of 19. Soon after, his modelling career took off and it wasn’t long before he was being booked by the likes of Valentino and Louis Vuitton.
Hu has been a big name in the fashion industry since the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until his transition to TV and film that he became a household name across Asia. Today he’s one of the most respected names in male modelling and a decorated industry veteran.
You name the designer, chances are Brazilian modelling sensation Marlon Teixeira has either walked for them or fronted a campaign.
The 28-year-old is known for his chiselled bone structure and cast-iron abs, which he swears blind are the result of surfing regularly from an early age and staying active at the beach.
His career began when his grandmother introduced him to Anderson Baumgartner, owner of Way Model Management and friend of the family. A short while later and he was appearing in high-fashion editorials for the likes of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair.
It’s probably quicker to list the things Jack Guinness doesn’t do than the ones he does. The Londoner is a writer, a presenter, a DJ, a socialite – you name it. First and foremost, however, he’s a model. Although he just says he works in fashion.
“Works in fashion,” is putting it lightly, mind you. Guinness has fronted campaigns for Ugg, Longchamp, Barbour, Brioni, L’Oréal, Nicole Farhi and Dunhill. He’s walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana. He’s even appeared in a short film for Italian tastemaker Gucci.
All of this from a man famed for his infectious personality and down-to-earth demeanour.
After enduring a childhood fraught with bullying, a young Shaun Ross found his niche in the fashion industry.
The first ever male albino professional model, 27-year-old Ross has been featured in photo-editorial campaigns for the likes of GQ, I-D, Vogue and Paper as well as modelling for Givenchy and Alexander McQueen.
Outside of his modelling work, the New Yorker has served as a vocal advocate of LGBT rights and the idea of making fashion more inclusive. If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you’ll have noticed runways becoming increasingly diverse and this hard-headed young model has been at the forefront of it all.
The elitists may not like it, but streetwear’s vice-like stranglehold on high fashion is only growing tighter. This new paradigm has paved the way for a different type of male model, and skateboarding style aficionado Blondey McCoy is a prime example.
The Londoner will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has maintained even a passing interest in streetwear as the face of pretty much every Palace campaign. He’s also been handpicked by Burberry and Valentino, which saw him fronting a trench coat advert and working with renowned photographer David Bailey respectively.
This would be enough to keep most people busy. But Blondey still manages to dedicate a significant portion of his time to making contemporary art and working on various skateboarding projects. Expect to see a lot more of him in the future.
Yes, he’s on Netflix, Broadway, the music charts and just about every social media platform in existence, but that’s also why a number of fashion brands keep turning to Cameron Dallas. The consummate all-round influencer is about as bankable as they come.
After originally coming to fame on Vine (remember that?), Dallas has walked for the likes of Calvin Klein, D&G and Philipp Plein. He’s also been on the cover of Vogue Homme and Teen Vogue. On Instagram, his 22 million followers will note that his personal style can be experimental, with bold shapes, colours and patterns.
Brother to fellow models Gigi and Bella, and sometime significant other to Dua Lipa, Anwar Hadid is also a model and musician in his own right. Signed to IMG, he’s worked with the likes of Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and Valentino.
As famous for his tattoos as his celebrity connections, Hadid breaks the mould with a modern look that would have been scarce on runways and in campaigns even 10 years ago. In 2018, he also launched Martyre, a jewellery and lifestyle brand with musician Yoni Laham.
Chilean-born actor Jorge Lopez is another multi-talented example of a modern male model. Also a musician and dancer, Lopez has worked with brands like Loewe and Ralph Lauren, but he’s perhaps seen more on the front row than he is on the runway.
Classic cheekbones and big, curly hair are Lopez’s calling cards, and he’s featured in numerous fashion shoots in men’s magazines.
How to stand out in the world of fashion, where – let’s be honest – things can sometimes get a little samey? For Leon Dame, it was as much about the walk as it was about his look. Closing a Maison Margiela show in 2019, Dame skulked down the runway with a distinctive and star-making turn wearing a faux leather jacket, knee-high boots and very little else.
Not that he’s a one-gimmick pony. The German model has also worked with Givenchy, Lanvin and closed a show for Louis Vuitton.
The best-dressed man on Tik Tok. That’s Vogue’s verdict on Wisdom Kaye and we’re not about to disagree. His look is a mix of modern and retro, goth-like blacks and multi-coloured palettes. The one thing he doesn’t do is boring.
Kaye’s rise shows the power of social media in fashion today. After going viral with fashion videos online, he made is runway debut with Balmain’s SS20 show but has already added Dior, Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Coach to his CV. Don’t take your eyes off him.
One of the most prominent transgender men working in fashion right now, Chella Man is a champion of diversity. Deaf, genderqueer and a Jewish person of colour, his career began when he started posting videos to YouTube about his experiences with gender dysmorphia and more.
As a model, he has worked with the likes of Calvin Klein and Gap, and he’s also one of the first transgender men to be signed for a beauty brand, helping Yves Saint Laurent launch its Nu cosmetics line. Man has also launched his own line of jewellery that transforms cochlear implants into something fashionable and decorative, saying he wants to introduce more deaf people to the world of fashion.
Known professionally as StevenG, this is one of the most influential plus-size models on the planet (even if that term is getting more and more out of date by the minute). Green broke the internet just a little bit when he modelled for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty underwear line.
An advocate for diversity of size and race, he’s also an entrepreneurial fashion all-rounder, offering his services as not just a model, but also a photographer, stylist, creative director and personal shopper, specialising in big and tall clothing.
The first black man to ever walk for Chanel, Mason has been breaking down barriers since being cast for Kanye West’s Yeezy brand. Since then, he’s modelled for everyone from Gucci and Tom Ford to Hugo Boss and Valentino, working personally with the likes of Alessandro Michele, Karl Lagerfeld and the late Virgil Abloh.
The son of a model and former NBA player, Mason is also branching out into music and acting. He appears as Little Richard in Baz Luhrman’s upcoming biopic of Elvis Presley.
With distinctive eyebrows and cheekbones you could mash an avocado on, it’s little wonder Kit Butler was once described as menswear’s answer to Cara Delevigne. The British model has campaigns for Armani, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Stone Island on his CV.
Scouted at an airfield where he was working with his uncle, Butler had to stop playing rugby because his agency was afraid he’d break his nose.
Native American model Haatepah is a good example of how someone in the fashion industry uses their platform to advance the causes they care about. Nike, Uniqlo and Ralph Lauren are some of his clients but take a look at his Instagram and you’ll see more about his work as a climate change activist and advocate for indigenous rights.
Eloquence and authenticity count for a lot in a world where brands are increasingly marketing to their audience on their values as well as their aesthetic. Haatepah embodies that spirit, which is why he’s one of the most talked-about models of the moment.