Watch: A Woman in a Man's World, Modeling Male Fashion
Casey Legler models men's clothing for Ford models, and looks good doing it. Legler also knows how to rock a skirt and heels. Probably because Legler is a woman. Today TIME featured Legler, who might be the only female model whose contract is exclusively for male-assigned modeling gigs.
While Legler declines to address issues of gender identity or expression, or even sexual orientation in her conversation with TIME, it's clear she knows the nature of her work is subversive. As an artist, that sits well with Legler.
"What I wish is that we all get to be exactly who we are," the 25-year-old told TIME. "And sometimes that's complicated."
Always a tall, slender girl, Legler qualified for the Olympics in swimming when she was just 18 years old. In pursuit of underwater speed and the experience her male teammates described, Legler shaved her head, ostensibly kick-starting her journey of gender expression.
And as far as she's concerned, Legler's non-normative modeling career — which came about through a photographer friend who thought her look would do well at Ford — falls right in line with Legler's artistic integrity and overall belief in freedom. Androgyny has long been a desirable quality in fashion, but Legler has grander hopes for a more accepting society that isn't defined by one's clothing choices.
"We have very specific ways in which we identify ourselves as man or woman," Legler said. "And I think sometimes those can be limiting. It would be a lovely place if we didn't necessarily judge or jump to conclusions because someone wants to wear a dress or because someone wants to wear pants."
Meet Legler in the video below, but first, check out these gorgeous shots of Legler's modeling work: