This is the first of our ongoing series “Cocoon Conversations” – where we share the stories of the many individuals we are lucky to meet through our platform.
As a mover and shaker in a fast-growing economy and real-estate-driven city, we are always looking for different ways to stay connected to our community and collaborate with creative, ambitious, and inspiring individuals in our city of New York. Part of our mission at Cocoon is to inspire unity among diverse communities, so we get excited when we find passionate and highly talented creators who align with our purpose and create a positive impact through their work.
Tyler Grosso at Casa Estrella
For the first addition to our editorial, we are thrilled to introduce fashion model, Tyler Grosso.
We have followed Tyler’s Instagram page (@ty_grosso) for the past few months, so when he posted a story about an upcoming project involving Ukrainian fashion brand Kseniaschnaider, we were naturally intrigued to learn more about the incredible message behind the campaign and his recent journey into modeling.
Tyler Grosso, also known as Ty, is a fashion model based in New York. He has only been modeling since November 2022 and has already shown impressive growth; from fashion campaigns with Off-White, Heliot Emil, and Buck Mason to getting booked to walk in fashion shows, Ty’s vision for his modeling trajectory and dedication to purposeful work set him apart from many other models.
Ty’s project with Kseniaschnaider shares a great message and sheds light on the devastations happening in Ukraine while showing strong support from New Yorkers, like us, who want to be involved in this story. Kseniaschnaider stands for Equality, Ending the War in Ukraine, and Creating Peace for all the Ukrainian Citizens suffering from the destruction provoked by Russia. We were inspired by Ty’s partnership with a fashion brand that was using their platform to bring awareness to the current state of Ukraine and to issues that require attention and resolution.
The fashion photoshoot took place throughout the East Village and highlighted various businesses that have strong ties with Ukraine. One of our newest spaces – Casa Estrella – was featured for some of the Campaigns’ shots and also served as a base for Ty and his team that day.
We sat down with Ty and interviewed him after his shoot. Here are the questions and his answers from that interview.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from New York. A born and raised New Yorker. I traveled a lot but always found my way back to NYC.
Why did you start modeling?
Since I was little, I have always loved fashion. So, living in a fashion-forward city, you tend to be very fashion minded. I love handmade garments, runway pieces, and unique clothing that can tell a story.
In addition, I enjoy finding new fashion brands and designers that make new concepts come to life. Fashion is about expression and showcasing what you feel and how you want to feel. I find that beautiful, and I relate to that a lot.
Fast forward to the end of last year, when two of my friends, Will and Will (both owners of a clothing brand, Sole in Viaggio), decided to open a pop-up store to sell their clothes in the LES, NYC. Their brand focuses on vintage denim materials, repairing clothes, and reconstructing clothes with different sewing, cutting, and patchwork techniques.
Hanging out at the pop-up event, they took pictures of me wearing their brand’s clothes and put them on Instagram. Soon after, those pictures received significantly positive attention and engagement. At that moment, I realized I could have a career as a fashion model.
Tyler Grosso wearing Sole in Viaggio
How do you envision your modeling journey continuing?
I’m enjoying the process and am currently not signed to an agency. However, I have consciously decided to experiment and find my voice in the fashion industry. I see myself aligning with the proper representation that can help connect me with companies, brands, and people with the same values as me and that are creating amazing fashion garments.
My current team comprises of two photographers, a videographer, an editor, a makeup artist, a personal assistant, and a PR agent. Finding people you can trust to carry out your vision and represent yourself in the right light is vital. Having a skilled team to support your endeavors helps a lot. I see myself traveling more for modeling jobs, gaining international/global advertisement exposure, and being viewed as a top male model overall.
So tell us more about this fashion photoshoot campaign that you modeled today.
Kseniaschnaider is a Kyiv-based brand launched in 2011. My friend, Ksenia Schnaider, is the Head Designer and part-owner of the brand. There were four outfits composed from:
- three deconstructed denim pants and jackets
- a denim deconstructed shirt
- a t-shirt
The collection is named Corruption and was for their 2023 Spring/Summer season.
How did this partnership with Kseniaschnaider come about?
We connected on Instagram. After seeing some of my modeling work, Ksenia reached out and thought I would be perfect as a model for her brand. We started discussing concepts and her vision for this photoshoot campaign.
The process was slow due to the current devastations happening in Ukraine. She disclosed how it has been difficult for her company and her family during this time.. It took her over two months to produce the garments and to send them to me in NY because the government kept shutting off the electricity and running water at her office/warehouse.
After hearing this, I wanted to do more than just model clothes for her brand. So my team and I reached out to businesses in the Ukrainian/East Village. I wanted to show that NY supports Ukraine, and from this campaign, I tried to display how we are all human at the end of the day, and we have our own stories to tell that people can relate to.
What other businesses were involved in this campaign?
We chose three local businesses in the Ukrainian/East Village of NYC to be involved in this campaign. Each business was selected carefully, ensuring we stayed in a specific direction. There was Veselka, White Box, and Limited To One Record Shop.
Can you tell us more about each business?
Limited to One Record Store, owned by Kristian Sorge has been around for five years. Kristian is an incredible person who loves his community. He takes pride in creating a platform and voice for topics that must be highlighted. Vast record selections and a cozy atmosphere distinguish it from other Record Stores in the city.
White Box, founded by Juan Puntes, is an art gallery with deep rich roots in the East Village. Its multifaceted programming has always contained elements ranging from aesthetics to socio-political truths. This art space allows artists to engage with communities and take the pulse of the times. They have held fundraisers for Ukrainian, curated exhibitions that displayed art from Ukrainian artists, and created a haven for artists and people to find their own.
Veselka, third generationally owned by Jason Birchard, is a Ukrainian restaurant that has been open for almost 70 Years. Their impact on the community has been meaningful, from humble beginnings to becoming an Iconic 24-hour staple in the East Village. This restaurant has seen its fair share of NYC and has created a place that embraces all.
How did these businesses help further your mission for this campaign?
Each business allowed us to film and take photos in their space. They all understood our vision, loved our concept, and wanted to support our efforts to create this project. Great community values are essential. It is how people survive. It’s about comradery, unity, and helping your neighbor. As a result, NYC is enriched with phenomenal communities. Displaying elements such as Self-Expression, the Fight for Liberation, and Staying True to Your Roots was essential in narrating this storyline. We, therefore, wanted to incorporate these emotions and actions in the backdrops of the shoot.
What’s next for you?
I am gearing up to go to South Korea for Fashion Week in the middle of March, where I will be walking in a few fashion shows.
Tyler Grosso wearing Kseniaschnaider
How was your experience at Casa Estrella today?
It was amazing. The townhome is beyond glamorous. Its high ceilings, unique artwork, and dramatic architecture was the perfect backdrop for our campaign. The Cocoon staff/team are also very professional and helpful – making today go smoothly.
tOk, let’s finish with some fun facts!
Current favorite song?
Boys in the Better Land by Fontaines DC.
Sea of Tranquility written by Emily St. John Mandel.
Favorite Park in NYC?
Amster Yard off of East 49th St. It’s a quiet low-key spot that I enjoy spending time at.
Favorite Coffee Shop in NYC?
Pause Cafe in the Lower East Side. Love their Açaí bowls.
Favorite Restaurant in NYC?
Coletta, in Gramercy. They have the best Vegan Italian food. If you go, the Tuna Crudo and the Fig Jam & Prosciutto brick oven pizza are a must.
Favorite Clothing Store in NYC?
3NY in Soho, shout out to Sam Desner, Marvin Revells, and Christian.
We have enjoyed working with Ty, and this fashion photoshoot campaign has been a fun project for us to be a part of. To stay updated with his journey, subscribe to his website, www.tygrosso.com.