Sophie Monseu Gonzalez was nervous before walking in Marine Serre’s fall 2020 show. Well, as she said last night, it was really “35% stress and 65% excitement.” This was 25-year-old Gonzalez’s debut on the runway (for which she wore a fuzzy scarf, black balaclava, and a gray moon-print dress with padded cuffs) as well as her first major moment as a signed model. Before entering the fashion world, Gonzalez, who is of Belgian and Spanish descent, dreamed of someday working in the industry—but more importantly, making a difference within it. Her eclectic style idols include artists Zhang JiaCheng and Cindy Sherman, musicians Solange and FKA Twigs, and Lucinda Chambers. Aside from her modeling, she is currently enrolled in the anthropology and sociology school at the Free University of Brussels. She’s also a freelance stylist, which helps to enrich her studies surrounding human behavior and creativity.
Gonzalez became interested in modeling about five years ago, when she noticed a lack of “curvy representation,” as she describes it. “Many really well-known agents and agencies saw me and immediately asked me to lose weight, to remove my dreadlocks, and to refrain from getting more tattoos.” Gonzalez adds, “I stopped modeling for a while when I and other curvy babes weren’t being accepted, but now here I am, and I feel more welcome.” As for her first big-name designer supporter, Serre has always embraced a diverse runway that includes women of varying ages, sizes, and ethnicities. She usually showcases one or more mothers with their children each season, highlighting the fact that her brand is both about designing clothes for the future, but also for those of us here in the now, those of us trying to dress for the act of pushing through the great, big fiery messes of the world. Gonzalez appreciates Serre’s outlook on fashion and the way she connects her designs to real human beings—present and future. Also, like Serre, Gonzalez used to design clothes for her childhood Bratz dolls and for herself using scraps of discarded fabric.
“Marine has no limits when it comes to her imagination,” Gonzalez says. “She stays true to herself, and we all know how difficult that can be when building a fashion business.” Gonzalez also says that walking in Serre’s show really taught her to “trust my inner instinct and to push myself further and deeper in my own creative work.” She hopes to build her modeling career while, at the same time, continuing to explore the business of styling (and, of course, seeing out her studies at university). Gonzalez is a model to watch this season not only because of her beauty, but also because she wants to create more meaningful human connections in the fashion industry. In her own words: “Fashion gave me the opportunity to show the real me and to face the realities of rejection and hard work. I truly need and love that.”