The Artist and Model Whose Style Is an Act of Protest

Richie Khan will wear what he wants, where he wants, with his hair and his makeup how he wants. New York.

By: Tara Gonzalez
Styling: Emily Ramshaw

There is a bed in Richie Khan’s living room. It’s right when you walk in, an exclamation point, a declaration, a mattress in the middle of an apartment on Varick Street. “It’s very swinging ’60s, hippie fantasy, where I kind of live very openly.” Sometimes he sleeps there, sometimes his roommates Briana Andalore or Julia Fox do. The bed isn’t really his or hers or hers, it’s theirs. “Wherever our heads lie at night is where we fall asleep, which is really beautiful.”

Nothing about Richie feels like it’s just about him. He is a self-proclaimed multi-layered story—an artist, a photographer, a muse, and a model. He’s been photographed by Ryan McGinley and walked the runway for Rachel Comey. He’s from Queens, born to Guyanese parents—a native New Yorker who can wear all-black one day or every color the next, and is often influenced by “Hindu-Indian garb” and the glam of Bollywood.

When we meet Richie he is breathless—partly because of the New York humidity and running down blocks in studded platforms, partly because he has so much to say. “You are seeing 20 stories in one when you look at my image. When I walk down the street, it’s an act of protest. It’s an act of being in this revolution of being yourself.”

Richie isn’t just expressing himself for himself but also for all the other queer kids of color. His strength comes from being a native New Yorker and growing up around eccentricity, but also from living with his best friends. “There’s a lot of acceptance, love and intimacy that has given me the strength to dress how I want to dress, wear the makeup I want to wear, do my hair the way I want.” 

And Richie knows how to get dressed. “I love to serve sex. That’s it.” With green leather skirts, leopard platforms and pink slips with slits, he does. He also knows not everyone will smile or accept his fluidity, his confidence, his “served sex.” But it also doesn’t matter. “I don’t want to be silenced. I want to be heard on whatever medium I decide to express myself. I want visibility.” And with that, Richie is out of breath, but that’s okay, he was always meant to be seen.

Click through to see Richie’s closet and read about his New York City upbringing and what he hopes people think when they see him.