Author | Christiane Nickel | Fashion Editor
The fashion industry’s hyper focused interest in casting androgynous models for a slew of advertisement campaigns, editorials, as well as embodying the spirit and attitude a collection is nothing new. Symbiotically, genderqueer visibility within fashion media is ever expansive and with significant advancements like positive portrayal of trans individuals with Barney’s Spring campaign, this is groundbreaking moment in our collective culture. However there is still extensive work to be done. As one microcosmic example, in my recent survey of Vogue’s April 2014 edition featured a total of 15 people of color out of a full 286 pages. A seascape of lithe Caucasian models with crisp complexions and photo-sculpted cheekbones were basking in one of Vogue’s most coveted Spring editions featuring the notorious Kimye interview.
Bored and exhausted with this predictable rubric, I was fortunate to meet Peggie Miller, founder of NMB (New Millennium Butch), who for the past 15 years has casted and produced fashion shows that exclusively feature aggressives. I had the pleasure of talking to her about her company, mission, and vision.
How would you define an aggressive?
An aggressive woman is a woman who does not see herself as a feminine person. Her self-expression is not a part of cis-gendered fashion norms that incorporate dresses, high heels, makeup, etc. She chooses to wear and is comfortable in suits, and shoes made for the male form because they showcase her as an aggressive. Being and aggressive is the swag, it’s the feeling you get in a good suit, or even a pair of Ferragamos.
How long ago did you start NMB and what is your mission?
I started NMB 14 years ago as a place to celebrate aggressive women. We look good in what we wear so I wanted to create a space for us and started producing fashion shows. This quickly evolved into promoting artists, designers, and singing troops.
Who are some of the designers and other artists that you feature?
Y Squared- YaYi Torres, a New Jersey based-designer who paints on clothing. Also, Jae Quinlan, another NJ- based designer who hosts a place called The Artisan Collective that features artists, musicians etc. And DeBonaire is my aggressive singing group.
How do you go about casting models?
I have over 20 models (age range 21-70+). When I started this back in 2000, I primarily went to the aggressive people I knew in my life. Now we use social media as well as referrals. Many of the models that I have come from all facets: doctors, lawyers, ministers, teachers etc. Our mission is we are here to stay; we are not going anywhere, which is why presentation is key with our models.
What has been your success thus far with NMB?
I usually have 300+ attending my events because people love the models. People want something different. I’m currently working on our next fashion show coming up on May 25th. Tickets will be available by the end of April. NMB also has a magazine, calendars, and a table book, which have been sold in Amsterdam. If you are interested in attending our show on May 25th please reach out to us through: email@example.com.
What are your future aspirations for NMB?
My vision has always been to see one or a few of my aggressive models in mainstream fashion. Another personal mission of mine is to have our own store where we will be treated well and get the attention, respect and service we deserve. There is no place like that in the surrounding areas and I want to see this in Essex County.