New York Fashion Week finished last week and London is well underway. But as the world's leading designers unveil their latest creations on the biggest models in the business and the most followed social media stars are snapped on the streets outside the shows, today we're turning an eye back to New York, specifically the Bronx, to spotlight the style of some lesser known subjects.
NY-based photographer Kevin Amato began taking photographs in 2003 whilst studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2007, he met Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver and began photographing the brand’s campaigns as well as casting the fashion shows. To get the exact look he wanted, Amato "had to create it", so he took to the streets to find his muses, also using Instagram to cast. Then in 2014, Amato founded the agency Mother Division to help his subjects find work as models and actors.
His photographs celebrate the varied faces of the Bronx, his own stomping ground, and explore the intrinsic link between high fashion and street culture. Published by Phaidon this week, The Importants features over 200 intimate and provocative portraits. Amato describes the Bronx and the young people he discovers there as “pure, uninhibited and overlooked”, representing diversity and inclusivity, calling his subjects “The Importants” because they are too often underrepresented in popular culture, particularly the fashion industry.
The Importants captures high profile faces including Travis Scott, Chris Brown and A$AP Ferg alongside the unknown. The book opens with an introduction by Alix Browne, Features Director at W magazine, and a personal reflection on Amato’s contribution to the industry from fashion designer, Rick Owens.
Curator and editor Neville Wakefield explains: “Kevin Amato has literally changed the face of fashion. By finding Paris in the Bronx he asserts the energy and voice of a generation for whom fashion is truly the crossroad of identity, music and art.”
Click on for a first peek at portraits from the book...
The Importants by Kevin Amato is published by Phaidon on 19 September 2016.