by Taylor Nye
As fashion icons go, Andrej Pejić joins the ranks of legacy thanks to his unique history and one-of-a-kind look.
Born in 1991 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pejić spent his early childhood years in a refugee camp in Serbia, fleeing the Bosnian War. After the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, the family became political refugees, moving to Australia in 2000, where Pejić was later discovered at 17 while working at a McDonald’s.
Pejić’s tumultuous childhood quickly transitioned into a meteoric rise to fashion stardom. The model has shown for Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs, and was featured on the cover of Dossier Journal. However, Pejić has most notably taken the industry by storm with purposeful androgyny and an undefined gender role, aspects of his character that simply fall away when one views his timeless beauty and impeccable style.
In terms of his personal style, Pejić effortlessly mixes both men’s and women’s fashions to create a modern look that could inspire anyone. He often pairs leather and furs with structured elements including suit coats and army fisherman pants. Pejić has also made a more “girl-next-door” look one of his signatures, wearing anything from soft-colored button-downs and skinny jeans with a pair of Converse to a little black dress on the red carpets of fashion week.
When on the runway, Pejić does it all. While modeling for Jean Paul Gaultier in January, he kept his long blonde hair and nail polish, but wore a classically structured three-piece suit, walking opposite more “conventional” male models. Later in the same show, he appeared wearing a couture wedding gown. When his mother saw her son as a Gaultier bride, she said, “He’s the most beautiful girl I’ll ever see in a wedding dress.”
In an interview with New York Magazine, Pejić told reporters, “I never did drag or anything like that. It was always that I wanted to be pretty, to look beautiful, as a girl would want to.” This is representative of the changing industry standard towards gender norms: in the end, only talent matters.