Paris Couture Fall 2018 drew to a close recently, and the biggest and brightest star of the week was Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech Bior.
In the hugely competitive modelling world, the 18-year-old beauty is red hot – she walked for every major fashion house, and took the coveted closing spot at both Chanel and Maison Valentino.
Akech is only the second black model in history to appear as the bride in the Chanel show (the previous was Alek Wek, also of Sudanese heritage, in 2004).
At a time when diversity has finally, finally flooded the fashion world, this incredible young woman has hit the international modelling heights at breakneck speed.
Born in Sudan in 1999, Akech’s family fled the civil war and moved to Kenya. At age 7, they migrated to Adelaide as refugees, to join Akech’s aunt and sister.
In a sweet letter she penned for Vogue Australia, Akech recalls: “When we finally got home from the airport and we were having dinner, I asked if I could please say something for everyone to hear. I said ‘thank you mum for bringing me to Australia for a better life, I promise you I’m going to getting my education and make you proud of me’.
“I made a promise to myself that I was going to get my education not just for my mum but also for me.
I promised that I was going to make something out of myself
When she walked into Chadwick’s model agency in Melbourne at the tender age of 16, they immediately knew she was destined for the word of high fashion, with her long legs and exquisite features.
After walking in Melbourne Fashion Week, a couple of digital shots of her were sent to Elite agency in Paris, and she was soon on a plane to walk for Saint Laurent, a coup most models only dream of.
Since that time, she has been photographed by almost every top fashion house, from Prada to Givenchy, featured in editorials in various international Vogues, as well as featuring in David Jones fashion and beauty campaigns.
In the midst of an industry that is notoriously tough and elitist, her story is heart-warming, and the sight of her in marigold orange at the Valentino finale was a moment of true beauty.
For such a young woman, Akech is taking it all in her stride.
“She just loves fashion,” says Chadwick’s agent Joseph Tenni.
“That is a big part of why she has been so successful”.
Akech has mentioned that one of her big dreams is to walk in a Victoria’s Secret show, and with the stellar trajectory she is on; it appears there will be nothing to stop her.
Her success is a beautiful testament to a time of positive change in the fashion world, and she is the perfect role model.
“I’m still head over heels on cloud nine about it. It still feels very unreal,” Akech told WWD.
“I feel like it’s such a good way for me to represent not just Sudanese girls, or my people, but any model of colour that looks up to me or that dreams of doing these things: anything is possible.
“I’m so, so proud to be able to represent them.”