How Alton Mason, the Hottest Male Mannequin within the World, Navigated This Trade-Shaking 12 months

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A model’s job is to be essentially the protagonist and the vessel of a fantasy: to be the person with the body and the smile and the fabulous good-looking company that looks as cool and happy as you would be if you were only hers had clothes. Constructing this fantasy usually takes the work of a small town: makeup artists, stylists, creative directors, guys just there to hold up one of those circular light reflectors, location scouts, hair growth and photographers. And for the past few years, Alton Mason has been the face of that fantasy when trying to sell clothes to men.

Before the pandemic, Mason was at the top of the modeling world. Models.com’s annual awards for 2019 were more or less a celebration for him: he won the industry vote for Social Media Star, he was the industry and reader choice for the Best Street Style Award, and he was unanimously voted male Model of the year too. In 2019, he became the first black male model to walk for Chanel – both an honor and an indictment. The hottest designers in the world say something about him: “In my opinion, Alton is the closest thing to a modern day Michael Jackson. at the star level, ”Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo wrote in an email. “He goes on set and the whole atmosphere changes … He’s without a doubt the best in the game. There is no one around. “Modeling, of course, requires the incredible physicality Mason is capable of: his quiet strolling or a series of setbacks on the Louis Vuitton runway. But 2020 conditions made shooting difficult and wiped fashion weeks off the board Shoot for Hugo Boss in late March was stopped two days early so everyone could return to their respective homes, so what do you do when you’re the hottest male model in the world?

Alton Mason flips back the runway in Milan for Louis Vuitton’s fall 2020 menswear show.

Getty ImagesAlton Mason flips back the runway in Milan for Louis Vuitton Menswear in autumn 2020.Getty Images

When you are Alton Mason, relax and move on.

At the start of the pandemic, Mason booked it from his Arizona folks. Mom was a model, and dad played basketball overseas: the family moved to Belgium when Mason was three and eventually to Arizona. At 17, he moved to Los Angeles to study dance and got an appearance as a backup dancer for Diddy during the 2015 BET Awards. This was followed by a contract with an agency and an Instagram-secured breakout job on the Yeezy show of the third season at Madison Square Garden. From there he went face to face for these brands. When it all stopped, the pandemic gave him most of the time he’d been home for a while. He spent the first few weeks in idyllic family time. The Mason household shared the cooking duties – Alton, always health conscious, made salmon. He “took this time to be one with nature and to strengthen my vibration,” he says.

Over time, the fashion industry became active again. And when the modeling came back it was subtly – but undeniably – changed. In the course of the pandemic, models like Mason had to become face, photographer, stylist, creative director and location scout. What once took the monumental effort of an entire well-paid team became simply Mason, who hired his sister to photograph clothes he’d styled himself. They would take the pictures and send them back. “[The brands] I loved it, “says Mason about his self-produced shoot.

Alton Mason will join Etro in Milan on January 12, 2020.

Pietro D’Aprano / Getty Images

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