Dara Allen

If Interview magazine seems like the place where celebrities go to take risks and stretch the bounds of their often carefully crafted images, it is most likely because fashion director Dara Allen is behind the camera, pulling the strings and the threads

In fact, Allen has been behind some of the most poignant pop culture fashion moments in recent years. She styled Calvin Kleins’ 2023 This Is Love campaign, celebrating LGBTQ+ chosen families, put Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a suit on the September 2022 cover of GQ, transformed Troye Sivan into a blushing beauty for his “One of Your Girls” music video, and has helped Euphoria star Hunter Schafer become a red carpet rockstar.

But it was Allen’s own catwalk coup as an unsigned model walking in Marc Jacobs’ 2017 fashion show that put her on the map as a creative and cultural force.

In an article spotlighting Allen, Vogue declared, “How an Unsigned Model Stole the Show at Marc Jacobs.” But considering Allen’s backstory, stealing the show was pretty much always in her cards.

Growing up, Allen said it was difficult for her to find kids who saw the world the same way she did, and so she spent most of her days drawing and daydreaming, she told Jin Soon.

“I had a small group of close-knit friends who helped develop my creativity. Thankfully, even though it took time for them to truly understand, my parents were always supportive of my instincts and aspirations, so it created a safety net even if everyone else didn’t understand,” she said.

Allen studied broadcast and print journalism in school, but her heart was always in fashion. Then modeling became her ticket to stardom.

“Modeling happened by chance, but it became the best learning ground for the rest of the industry for me,” she said.

Moving to New York in 2016, she fell into a queer crowd, started creating and taking pictures, and soon caught the attention of designer Jacobs—specifically, on the cover for Candy magazine, where Allen was one of ten trans models in an issue guest-edited by Hari Nef.

“That started everything,” she said.

Allen was one of four non-gender conforming models to be featured in Jacobs’ show, with Casil McArthur, Stav Strashko, and Avie Acosta.

“I love that it wasn’t just one of us who was chosen as a token trans model,” Allen told Vogue. “A bunch of different people came together to create something powerful.”

Recounting the moment in Jin Soon, Allen said it was a crucial moment for her trajectory. “That moment set me on a totally new trajectory,” she said. “I wouldn’t have had access to this path without that moment. I feel really lucky they chose me!”

Now as a “renegade stylist,” working on and appearing in fashion campaigns, magazine covers, in editorials, runways, Allen has the editorial eye to give other aspiring creatives their moment and celebrate the impact LGBTQ+ people have had in the fashion space. Although she admits that she is still figuring out what her impact in the community will ultimately be.

“I’m not sure what my impact is, but I do feel so buoyed by the shared sensibility. Having a community around me helps me feel safe to completely show myself, which makes everything better,” she said.

As for style and mystique, Allen shares that everything is forever “until it’s not.”

“I think you have to commit wholeheartedly to your look, and once it feels like you’ve completed that version of yourself, it’s okay to shed the old and welcome the new,” she said.

“When I was a teenager, I experimented a lot. Trying things completely outside of my comfort zone helped me refine what I like and what I don’t. You can’t discover yourself unless you tread uncharted waters.”

She added, “It’s important to play.”

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