Updated: Jul 10, 2018
TIH x BETHANY WILLIAMS
by Courtney Mills, Chasm Editor
An over-crowded pub has left us sipping wine out of plastic cups on a patch of green in the centre of Leicester Square. The occasion is celebratory as I am surrounded by a fleet of models, represented by TIH Models, who have just wrapped a presentation for Bethany Williams’ Spring/Summer 2019 collection at London Fashion Week Mens.
The models are relaxed, exchanging backstage stories and mid-show observations. “This second fashion week was easier than the one before”, Hakim muses across the circle to Alex.
He’s referring to Williams’ Fall 2018 presentation “Breadline”, in which they both modelled her 100% sustainable and locally made garments. “That show was so hot, the spotlights were shining straight on us” adds Alex.
Though the natural lighting of this year’s show may have been a tad more bearable, the real comfort comes from the experience that these two relatively new models have gained in just the past year.
TIH, a niche modelling agency exclusively featuring individuals currently or transitioning out of sleeping rough, gains more and more momentum after each season, having been seen in shows with Williams, Nadine Shaban and even Vogue Italia.
Today’s presentation, “No Address Needed to Join”, is set in Charing Cross Library. Williams is partnering with The Mobile Library Charity to make book borrowing available to those with no fixed address, a requirement for public libraries.
Joining Hakim and Alex this year from the TIH roster are Dominic, Kristopher and Meroë, as well as new faces Elliot and Abdiwale. They are each sporadically placed throughout the space, some leaning against stacks of books while others are perched atop tables flipping through pages of classic novels. As show-goers peruse and admire the garments made of recycled and organic material, a looping track recounting classic children’s tales plays in the background to set the scene.
“I like seeing all of the different people,” Meroë, one of the few female models who get to be showcased at LFWM, tells me at our post-show gathering. “You can look at an individual and see who they are”.
This is an interesting point of view, as we think of models as the ones that we look at. But Merhoe brings to my attention the “reverse fashion show”, if you will; they are the stationary ones, and we are the people parading around in our carefully curated outfits.
The thoughtful conversation continues, and when asked his favourite part of the show, Dominic (who came down from Manchester for the day with his girlfriend and son to support him) explains simply: “the experience, to see how it all works. I have never done this before”.
Meroë echos his thoughts, noting that what stands out to her most is the idea of “going through something, the beginning middle and end...learning how to navigate [the modelling industry].” These are some of the unfinished thoughts she ponders about the new opportunities TIH has given her.
The growth process is in full form at TIH. There are pains and spurts alike as they continue to move from a good idea to an established agency, major steps being taken yet a lot still left to be discovered. As the skies begin to open on our impromptu picnic and scatters us on our separate ways, the thought sticks to the back of my mind that the next time we meet may involve more models, brighter lights and less space for these intimate conversations.
There is definitely more to come for TIH, but we will always be grateful for the small beginnings.
Find a full interview with TIH Models in CHASM Magazine, Volume 1: The Vision Issue out soon // For more information on TIH Models visit tihmodels.com