Meet Alva Claire, the South London Model of the Day

This story originally appeared in i-D’s The In Real Life issue, no. 364, Fall 2021. Order your copy here.

The symbol for Alva ClaireThe astrological sign of – Pisces – is a good starting point to discover the model born in London: two fishes swimming in opposite directions. A walking “oxymoron” as she puts it, she gives off a light and light awkwardness, but is extremely serious when it comes to her career; it is tender but hard as nails; she is endearingly humble but dazzlingly chic.

It’s the play of contrasts that makes her one of the most seductive presences you’ll see on the pages of magazines and on the catwalks right now. And she’s been on quite a few of them lately, racking up runway appearances for Versace, Balmain and Savage x Fenty, as well as campaign gigs for Calvin Klein. Now she is making her debut here in the pages of iD, pictured by Deidre Lewis and styled by Sydney rose thomas, our senior fashion editor, in a series of images that highlight her simultaneous senses of courage, sensuality and glamor. Here we get to know what makes one of the most exciting faces of the moment vibrate.

GUCCI jacket. DOLCE & GABBANA bustier. ACNE STUDIOS necklace.

Hi Alva! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you come from? And where are you now

I am from South London, where I am at the moment. I’ve been here a little while, which I feel really good about, but I live between here and New York. I have dual nationality, which I am so lucky to have.

How about you as a person?

Kindness, really! And be something different in this industry. Growing up, I always felt like I was outside watching something that I wasn’t sure I could be a part of. I want to exude a feeling of kindness, empathy, fun and fearlessness. If something hasn’t been done before, or if I’m the first person to do it, I don’t care – I have to create space and opportunities for myself and for others.

How would you describe yourself in four words?

Sweet soul (it is!), Oxymoron, powerful, devoted.

Are there any weird or interesting talents that you would like to showcase?

Well I recently learned that a lot of people can do that too, but I can touch my nose with my tongue.

the model walks behind a thin sheet of plastic in a patterned bodysuit, her eyes obscured by big bangs

Coat MM6 MAISON MARGIELA. Body stylist workshop. NEW YORK VINTAGE earrings. BALENCIAGA shoes.

What’s an Alva Claire classic going to outside perspectives?

It always has to feel a little harsh, with a little softness to balance it out. I love textures so there will often be something like a long, dramatic dress and then a large jacket – maybe something leather, I have this awesome motorcycle jacket that I love! Oh, and big hair, lots of jewelry, maybe a pair of tinted sunglasses…. and always a boot!

** What are the moments of this summer that you will remember the most?

** It was a bit touching. The main moments for me, however, have been quiet times – spending time in the parks reading, and things like that. It was about those pockets of time where I can disconnect and be alone.

** So what are you reading?
I’ve seen quite a bit of Zadie Smith, actually. I can really connect with her as a mixed race woman who is young and raised in London and then moved to New York, and the way she writes about her characters has always resonated very deeply. And then I also revisited fashion and photography books, like the one Masculinities barbican exhibition last year

Give us your top three tips for taking care of yourself.

It has been said since the dawn of time, but drink water! This is my answer to everything. Other than that, keep a journal and express yourself the way you want!

the model is pictured from the waist in a sleeveless mesh dress and looks to the side

Coat and dress MARTIN KEEHN. CASTLECLIFF earrings.

And tell us how was the shoot with Sydney and Deidre?

It was amazing! it was truly a dream come true. I remember saving all my coins to buy an ID card when I was younger, and I still have all these problems from that point on. It has always been the review for me. We were really a unit on set, and we had two days to shoot, which is really amazing for an editorial. and really immerse yourself in the character or emotion that you are trying to portray. And the style was so good! Expressing myself the way I want to, rather than appearing like the industry wants someone like me to be, was so liberating. We played a lot of Tina Turner on set, and I was just dancing – I really connected to that rockstar energy! It was hot and sexy, but it had that advantage.

Any BTS trivia you’d like to share?

Well the very first look was all latex… I guess we started out like we wanted to continue!

What’s the biggest myth about modeling?

That this is not a serious career. Models are so important in creating a reflection of the cultural landscape, and it is a true art form. Every time I work I think of something, I practice my movements the day before and I really devote myself to it.

And what is its greatest truth?

What a form of art! I think the fashion and the images we create are so understated – it’s art after all.

What shows are you most excited to walk this fashion week?

Especially in London there are so many exciting young designers that I would love to work with – I am obsessed with Maximilian and KNWLS so I manifest it! And then I was just in the Savage x Fenty show, which was a dream come true!

the model is seated, pictured from the side, naked except for a fishnet bodysuit, dark eye makeup and chunky studded earrings

Body stylist workshop. NEW YORK VINTAGE earrings.

the model is holding her long coat closed, looking mysterious in sunglasses and a scarf

EMPORIO ARMANI coat. VERSACE scarf. RAY BAN sunglasses. AMATO gloves. BALENCIAGA shoes.

the mannequin is standing with his legs shoulder-width apart, hidden by a plastic sheet


the model's face is shot in close-up, the features are obscured by a long mask and a wide-brimmed hat


the model looks over one shoulder in a leather blazer

GUCCI jacket. Y’s pants.

the model leans to the side, encased in leather


model stands facing front in bodysuit and fishnets

Body VERSACE. ACNE STUDIOS necklace. Gloves LIVING PICTURES. Stylist workshop downstairs. BALENCIAGA shoes.

model looks forward in close-up wearing black sunglasses and white silk suit shirt and matching tie

VAQUERA shirt and tie. CHERRY VINTAGE sunglasses.


Photography Deirdre Lewis
Hair styling Sydney Rose Thomas

Hairstyle Joey George at MA + Group using MIZANI
Make-up Kuma at Streeters with MAC COSMETICS
Scenography Ian Salter at Frank Reps

Photography assistance Marion Grand, Michel Oscar and Nuvany David

Styling assistance Sofia Amaral and Sugar

See Me Creative production

Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING

Model Alva Claire at IMG

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