Genderless model Elton Ilirjani on NYFW and the upcoming Seoul Fashion Week

Elton Ilirjani is a model, LGBT activist and gender-bending fashion icon who is helping pioneer the genderless model movement. The New York-based fashion influencer and model recently walked for the BESFXXK runway show at New York Fashion Week during the Concept Korea show at Spring Studios.

Elton is known for his unique sense of humour, and style and is helping pioneer genderless fashion. With a following of over 10 million on Instagram, you may recognize Elton from attending New York events, like the Whitney Art Party or the Winter Show, or reading about him in Forbes, LA Weekly or Women’s Wear Daily. Elton keeps proving that it’s possible to be a business CEO, of the HeadHunter Group, while being a runway model, all the while being himself, unapologetically.

Elton speaks to us about his recent runway show at New York Fashion Week and is walking four runway shows for Seoul Fashion Week 2023 later this month (for South Korean brands MMAM, Seokwoon Yon, Greedilous and Maison Nica). Here’s what he had to say.

What was a major highlight of NYFW?

Elton Ilirjani: During NYFW 2023 the major highlight was the catwalk of Besfxxk during the Concept Korea show at Spring Studios. It was a magical moment for me because the outfit was extraordinary and very hard to be presented. It was heavy and needed a powerful and careful walk. It needed the power to be exploded while rotating. The beautiful explosion under the music of the Korean Musician BAAWALA was outstanding. I can say that the moment I went on my catwalk the music exploded and it was so energetic and very unique! I also did differently from other models because again I made contact with the people and I remember the good impact on their faces after the show.

What was the best part about walking for BESFXXK?

The best part was the studio which was the daylight that shed through the studio, and with a view of Manhattan, the music of BAAWALA and the extraordinary outfit with the pink puffer! Also, the hair style was wonderful! I had the best time during this catwalk.

Why is the Concept Korea show important, in your eyes?

Korean Fashion is the future of fashion! I strongly believe they create the best fashion in the world and they are extremely creative! They don’t use bling to take attention, they take attention only through creativity and opening new paths for the future of fashion! I see many international brands that copy the concept designers of Korea! I am in love with Korean Style and designers. Their style fits me and I definitely look better in Korean outfits.

How do you describe the piece you wore on the runway?

Oh God, the piece I wore was wonderful. A dream! Hard, heavy, light, black, colourful inside, marshmallow taste for the eyes, under rotation was cosmic and astronaut spirit and eye-exploding! I can call it the “Rotation of Dreams”! 

Why are you excited about Seoul Fashion Week?

I am excited because I will be walking wonderful outfits, and some of them are magical! The runway studios are huge and futuristic! I am going in the future 14 hours ahead and 100 years ahead in fashion! I will be stepping towards the future! 

Why are South Korean fashion designers so overlooked?

They are creative, hard workers, talented, and simple, they have dignity and they love simplicity in fashion! They are also humble people, in contrast to the European spirit and pride and sometimes prejudge. They make all models feel beautiful and handsome. In the end, this should be an industry of love and inclusion, and not of slavery and human cruelty.

images courtesy BFA
Interview by Nadja Sayej // @nadjasayej