In the 1980s, Kates spent eight years as the head of the women's division at Wilhelmina Models before starting Next in 1989. At the time, there were just two or three modeling agencies in New York, and Kates saw that there was an opening in the market for a small boutique agency.
"It was the time to do a small agency, but it turned into a big agency, gratefully," Kates told us.
Today, New York City is the home of more than thirty agencies representing runway models, and Next is one of the biggest players, with a roster that includes both compelling emerging talent (like Binx Walton) and established stars (like Arizona Muse).
Above, we ask Kates about modeling trends, the evolution of New York Fashion Week and diversity on the runway.