Archive for July, 2014

Inside IMG’s Model Prep Night: Be on Time, Eat

July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

Last night, 27 teenage models gathered onto the palatial outdoor deck at the Park Avenue office of IMG Models. Fanned by a warm evening breeze and surrounded by trees strung with glowing Christmas lights, they joked and giggled as they dug into platters of sandwiches and wraps, plucking food off their plates with their long limbs like grasshoppers nibbling on leaves. Many of them came straight from go-sees and wore the standard uniform of baggy tank top, black pants, and high heels. They were there for IMG’s Model Prep 2012, a twice-yearly event hosted by the agency to prepare the girls for New York Fashion Week.

The speakers included a number of well-respected fashion industry folks, including casting director James Scully, creative director Nian Fish, and models Jessica Stam and Lonneke Engel. Each were there to explain to the girls — most of whom are first-timers on the New York runways — what to expect from the whirlwind of castings, tests, shoots, and runway shows that’s about to begin. Also on hand was psychotherapist Betsey Selman-Babinecz, who offered tips on coping with the stresses of Fashion Week (in a nutshell: call your friends and family at home a lot). Each attendee was also handed a booklet of contact information for resources like dermatologists, ob-gyns, counselors, grocery stores, and of course, places to shop.

IMG has offered this event for six years now, and, according to David Cunningham, the agency’s vice-president of development, it seems to be a big help. “It’s not the solution, but it’s a start,” he said. “Hopefully girls take a deep breath after this and put everything in perspective. They all need to know that they’ll be okay if they don’t book Calvin Klein.” The event is not mandatory, but IMG asks that all their first-timers come, and everyone unusually attends; the experienced model speakers are often a highlight. “It’s good that we have Jessica [Stam] and Lonneke [Engel] speaking, because they’ve both been through some hard times,” he said. “They’ve both seen the best of it, and they’ve both had times when they’ve been like, ‘Oh my God, nobody wants me.’”

The takeaway from all the speakers can be summed up in the following points:

1. Be on time.
2. Bring healthy food like fruit and nuts with you because otherwise you will starve or, even worse, cave and eat something unhealthy like — gasp! —  white bread.
3. Don’t take it personally when people say mean things about you to your face.
4. Don’t take it personally when people reject you.
5. Don’t take anything personally, really.
6. Again: be on time.

Nian Fish, who was tapped last year by Anna Wintour to head up the CFDA Health Initiative (on top of the creative consulting work she does for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Jil Sander, and other clients), spoke first. She didn’t mince words: “We use your beauty and your looks to sell things,” she said. “In the process, you may go through things that hurt your feelings.” While she was clear about the fun aspects of modeling — “You girls are will get to travel the world, and you’ll have a blast” — she was frank about the realities of the industry. “Start thinking about what you want to do after this. And start thinking about it now,” she advised.

Indeed, handling nasty, stressed-out people seemed to be a theme of the evening. “You’ll have things said to you that will seem unbelievable at the moment,” explained casting director James Scully. “Sometimes people don’t have your interests at heart when they’re trying to get a job done.” He reiterated the importance of not taking things personally, although he admitted that it’s impossible to remain unfazed sometimes. “You’re going to have some tough knocks,” he warned. He recommended calling your agent if you’re ever upset, and staying in touch with loved ones back home. Also, a tip: don’t wear ponytails, because when you go to castings you’ll have a ridge in your hair, which apparently irks stylists.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly when Jessica Stam, her hair still dyed black from a LOVE shoot, took the microphone and spent over 20 minutes — literally — expounding on the merits of being on time. It eventually became clear that lateness had been a problem for her in the past. One time, years ago, she was all dressed and lined up for the runway when, to James Scully’s horror, she disappeared. They had to hold up the entire show while they mounted a panicky search; she was eventually found in line at the Starbucks across the street. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” she said. Scully eventually forgave her, and now they exchange Starbucks gift cards at Christmas. “Still, don’t do that,” she warned. “I had to earn a lot of people’s trust back.”

After the lectures were over, goody bags were dispensed and the girls continued munching on snacks and sipping juice. Some smoked cigarettes and tried on each other’s shoes. Lula Osterdahl, a Swedish model who walked in the fall 2012 Prada show and was recently shot for Italian Vogue by Steven Meisel, said the evening had made her feel relieved — in her own accented words, “Like a stone fell out of my stomach.” It’s her first time at New York Fashion Week, and she admitted she’s anxious. “People tell me scary stories about Fashion Week, you know?” Nearby, Cunningham surveyed the scene and grinned. “It’s a bit like summer camp orientation, isn’t it?” he said. “I mean, they are kids. They’re here for three weeks. It’s a lot like camp.”

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Casting Models – Preparing for Castings and Working with Modelling Agencies

July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

Casting Models – Part One


One of the things that I found interesting about my job is the sheer number of people I have met over the years. Especially when I lived and worked in larger markets like Paris and Milan. The high turn over of people that come into these markets when a new fashion season begins is incredible. I have met hundreds of clients, designers, fashion editors, photo editors, art buyers, art directors, hair stylists, make-up artists, stylist, model agents and assistants. Plus many others directly as well as indirectly related to the business, but that is a meager pittance compared to the thousands upon thousands of models I have met during castings I have held. With the number of models I have met in all the castings I had over the years, I have learned a few things that has made my life easier when it comes to casting the right model for the job. In this article I will go though the different steps of casting models for your production. This is going to be quite a long article so I am going to break it down into three different posting.

Relationships with modelling agencies

If you are a experienced photographer then you have your relationship with your preferred agencies already. So I will try and write this in a way that best helps someone with little or no experience working with modelling agencies. It is difficult to get the attention of a model agent unless they know you or know your work, or they know the client well. So if your job is a good one ( for example. editorial with a good magazine, or a good paying commercial client they know ) then you will get their attention and get better models to choose from. If not and your client is small, unknown, bad paying, or it is a low level magazine then you will have difficultly with getting their attention and if you do some how manage to get their attention you will not get to choose from a great selection of models. It is that simple, good and/or high paying job, then good selection and good models, low paying job or low level client, then poor choice of models and you may have to use a model with little or no experience at all. Which is not a bad thing if you are a competent photographer and are capable of working with rookie models, but if you feel like you need a more experienced model then you will need to get more money from your client. So the best advice I can give you is get to know the agents, test some of their models so they get to know you and your work, it will help a little but until you reach a higher level of work don’t expect to have a really great selection of models available to choose from.

Example of a professional model’s comp card.
Model: Paula Patrice at Ford Models NY

What to ask of the model agencies

You can ask the modelling agent you contact to send a package of set-cards to you, just call them and ask. Model comp cards or model set-cards are like large business cards for models with a head shot on the front and usually three or four different photos on the back with the model photographed in various situations, and with written details like height, eye colour, hair colour, dress size, and shoe size of the model, plus the model’s agency contact details. Tell the booker about the job you are doing then tell them when you are doing the job and what kind of model or models you are looking for so they can tailor the package for your job requirements. Tell them if you are only looking at in town models or both in-town and international models, and if it is both ask them to separate them so you you know who is in town and who you would have to fly in.

At the beginning of every season I always ask the agencies to send me packages of models that they know will be in town for the season and to write on the model’s set card the dates they will be in town, if they are not in for the full season. This saves me a lot of time when I am having the pre-production meeting with the client and/or stylist. I can show them the comp cards and get idea of what type of model or models I will need for the production. before I contact the model agencies for the actual casting call, thus streamlining the process.

Knowing as much as possible before the casting and actual production will save you major headaches later on.

Prepare yourself before a casting

Before you call a casting you should prepare yourself. You should have production date set for your shooting, or at least a ball park idea when you want to shoot. You should have a very good idea of what type of production you are doing. Is it a fashion shoot, beauty or cosmetic, cover shoot, catalogue, a commercial campaign of some kind?
You should have had at least one production meetings with client, and stylist, and have discussed the type of model or models you will need for the shoot. Bring model comp cards to the meetings to help in the choosing of the type of model or models that the client and you would would like for the production. You should know how long will you need to book the model for before you talk to the agent,  is it half a day booking, full day booking or more? Will the model need to travel or is it a local production?

Find out if there are there any special requirements or skills that the model will need for the shooting. Some examples could be,  she will need to be able to ride a horse well, or can she dance, or is she afraid of heights, or can she swim, the list goes on and on. You should know that many models may limit what they are willing to do on a shoot, like going topless or wearing fur, so ask the model agent if any of the models you are looking at have any restrictions that may affect your production. Find out what kind of budget the client has for the models and usage rights they will need. Ask if they want to only look at in-town models or if the budget allows for flying in a model for the job. Knowing as much as possible before the casting and actual production will save you major headaches later on.

Next in part two, I will discuss where to hold your castings, and what to look for when casting two or more models that will need to work together. Don’t forget to subscribe to our email updates or to the  RSS feed to get a update notice when we post the next article.

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Getting The Luxury Fashion Business Model Right

July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

Getting The Luxury Fashion Business Model Right

Today, BoF exclusively brings you Savigny Partners’ blow-by-blow analysis of the rapidly shifting luxury fashion business model which is undergoing transformation due to underlying shifts in consumer values, technology and globalisation.

LONDON, United Kingdom — Luxury fashion is a very exciting business which can generate substantial returns if you get the formula right. Not only is there the ability to charge up to ten times the cost of manufacturing a garment and the potential to build a global business; apparel can be the beginning of a page-turning blockbuster, accessories and leather goods are the next chapter, fragrances and eyewear licenses the well-oiled plot. The story can have a happy ending with the promise of many sequels to come.

Success stories in this field are mouth-watering: Burberry’s share price climbed from 175p in November 2008 to 1,116p at the beginning of this year as the brand went from strength to strength and reportedly attracted the attention of a number of acquirers. Lanvin has embarked on a stellar growth trajectory with plenty of potential yet to come. However, not all blockbusters have a happy ending. The latest crisis has claimed a number of victims: Christian Lacroix, Gianfranco Ferré, Yohji Yamamoto, Luella Bartley to name a few.

In this article we will examine how the traditional designer business model has come under threat and what key factors we believe are necessary to ensure the success of a luxury fashion label today. Finally we will take a look at what lies ahead for the luxury fashion sector.

Is the designer brand becoming redundant?

The traditional designer brand business model is not for the faint-hearted. Typically, a design-rich but loss-making main line is invested in with the aim of capitalising on its cachet through a cash-generative diffusion line and, eventually through lucrative licensing deals. This model not only takes years to generate returns, but the ride is also a bumpy one with no guarantee of success. Christian Lacroix is a prime example of a label which, despite heavy investment in its main line/couture business, never saw the more commercial side of its activities take off sufficiently.

Life has also been made more difficult for designer brands, initially by the proliferation of fast fashion brands with a credible fashion offering. Zara, Mango and H&M have been extremely successful at attracting the fashion conscious consumer by interpreting catwalk trends with a time to market that would make Philip Green’s head spin. H&M took this one step further by pioneering designer collaborations, which created veritable stampedes in its stores and brought new customers to the brand. Top Shop has also been a trailblazer in this category: the brand showcases its Unique collection at London Fashion Week, its collaboration with Kate Moss has given it an edge and its recent opening of a flagship opposite Harrods demonstrates that it is looking beyond its traditional high street pasture.

And finally, traditional designer labels have been challenged by — and sometimes losing ground to, contemporary brands which offer a more accessibly-priced, less fussy fashion product. In this category both a Phillip Lim, who designs his eponymous line to a price point whilst still being able to fully express himself, and a Tory Burch, with a very-well merchandised line sourced mainly out of China, have found their audience in a relatively short time and have created thriving, financially successful businesses.

It is telling that Narciso Rodriguez and Hussein Chalayan both saw their brand being returned to them by their investors, and that such a star designer as Hedi Slimane is still without a major job in the industry. What lies ahead for top designers?

Managing seasonality

Designer labels have taken major steps to reduce seasonality risk by complementing their Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections with pre-collections, cruise and pre-Fall collections, thus increasing the number of collections from two to up to six per year. These inter-seasonal collections tend to contain more commercial pieces than the main collections, often have more accessible price points and now account for the bulk of sales of a fashion brand. This is also music to retailers’ ears whose aim it is to get fresh stock into stores, so as to give customers a reason to come back, and shift the stock as quickly as possible. Some luxury brands have taken a leaf out of the book of leading fast fashion players such as Inditex, introducing flash collections in their stores.

Harnessing creative talent – the increasing importance of the merchandiser

The well-publicised demise of the Gianfranco Ferré fashion house exemplifies the need for a strong merchandising function: during the early noughties development costs for its main line collection escalated to 5m euros per season, and the number of pieces produced for market stretched as far as the eye could see. The first actions of the newly-appointed CEO upon taking over the troubled company was to control collection development costs by significantly reducing the number of SKUs, the number of styles produced and of prints ordered, and to make sure that each style was able to generate profits on relatively small sales volumes.

There the model was clearly in need of an urgent fix, but on an ongoing basis the role of the merchandising team, working with the design and product teams on one hand and the marketing and sales teams on the other, harnessing the creative talent and editing down the creative output to what will work or generally help the band, is absolutely critical. This helps to ensure that the market reception of the collection will be as good as possible, but is also true — and increasingly importantly so — in a world where the number of deliveries has increased and where efficient re-ordering and replenishment is where the real money is made.

Create a bestseller but know when to let go

Whilst every management team in the industry dreams about creating that iconic product or series of products which will become a cash cow, over-dependency can prove a curse if you push this too far and the market turns on you. This famously happened to French Connection, which rode the FCUK bike from 2001 until the wheels came off, resulting in the company dipping into loss for the first time in fourteen years in the first half of 2007 (the group is now rapidly recovering under the watchful eye of its Chairman & CEO, Stephen Marks).

One interesting path is that of Burberry, which initially had to rely too much on the dual deities of trench and check but made a considerable effort to diversify its product portfolio so as to avoid being branded as a one-horse pony, and on top of that successfully fended off the chav issue (to be reviewed in detail in a forthcoming issue of our newsletter).

Invest in retail but focus on the detail!

The last crisis claimed a lot of casualties as a result of over-dependence on the wholesale channel. Pain was felt in two areas: small boutiques not paying up on their orders, or proving to be too much of a credit risk going forward, and department stores panicking and batting down the hatches. Many fashion wholesale businesses were thus caught with their pants down and had nowhere to shift their rapidly devaluing stock. At the other end, whilst the experience for retail-led fashion brands was not by any means pleasant, the effects of the crisis were less hard felt. In this respect wholesale activities played for the fashion industry the same role as leverage did relative to the financial world: it can significantly enhance returns and offers easy growth, but when the market turns, the ground is taken away from under your feet.

Beyond this point, retail presence offers a number of advantages. First and foremost the ability to capture the retail margin – a fully-integrated fashion retail business can generate gross margins up to 80 percent (and sometimes more!), as compared with a wholesale business margin of 40 to 50 percent. Retail presence also allows for more control of the brand image and presentation. This is particularly important as a brand evolves as it can often get stuck in a time warp, with retail buyers ordering variations on what sold well in the last season instead of following with new products/designs, often seen as more risky.

Whilst location is key, store size is also vital to driving store economics. The late 1990’s saw the proliferation of mega-stores as shrines to brands. Many of these were loss-making: those of you who spend time in London will remember the monolithic Jil Sander store on Burlington Gardens, intimidating by its emptiness. When Change Capital Partners took over the company, its losses were well into double-digit millions. One of the first steps the new owners took was to close a few of its most unprofitable stores – the infamous London flagship for instance was relocated to a smaller premise on Bond Street. Losses were drastically reduced, and within a year the company was profitable.

White elephants such as this previous Jil Sander store never made good retail propositions, but you could understand why some management teams were keen on them: retail really helps drive wholesale. Department store managers will never own up to it, and we are sure Barneys and Bergdorf top brass were horrified when Lanvin announced the opening of its Madison Avenue store in the summer last year, but over time (and more quickly than people think), whatever turnover is temporarily lost for the neighbouring department stores will be made up and more, as the brand benefits from increased awareness, more prestige and a stronger, more complete image as a result of its own retail presentation.

So, own retail is most definitely good — as long as you can properly evaluate its cost/reward assumptions and avoid the white elephant trap.

A dynamic supply chain can drive profitable growth

Fashion is a uniquely complex business. The supplier base is increasingly global and increasingly specialised: there is therefore no guarantee a brand will be sourcing its product from the same country, let alone the same supplier, season after season. Distribution can be equally complex, the challenge of a global distribution network being compounded by an often fragmented customer base. The fashion business model is also very sensitive to production volumes; thus the supply chain has to be continually revisited during the growth phase of a brand.

One of the cornerstones of Burberry’s success has been the investment in its supply chain. Project Atlas, an overhaul of the company’s supply chain and IT systems, was launched in 2006, culminating in the roll-out of global SAP systems in 2010. This has given it a much improved granular understanding of every phase from design to the consumer, allowing the company to react rapidly to sales trends and capitalise on bestsellers. Burberry completely re-engineered its supply chain, cutting the number of distribution centres, freight carriers and suppliers and, through improved production planning, significantly reduced the use of air freight in favour of cheaper sea freight. These measures were estimated to deliver approximately £25m in annual savings, or 14 percent of operating profit. As a result of these measures the company can now also give fast fashion a run for its money through dramatically shortened times to market.

A future dominated by men and computers?

Besides the well-documented potential in China and other emerging markets, two areas of growth merit our attention: menswear and the internet.

Despite continuing success stories such as Lanvin’s, womenswear is pretty much a saturated segment in developed markets and therefore very competitive. On the other hand the men’s market accounts for a relatively much bigger slice of the luxury pie in emerging markets. Men are notoriously difficult to attract to a brand, but as a result also tend to be very brand loyal. There are also less cultural/sartorial differences across borders in menswear than there are in womenswear. All of these characteristics make this segment worth the chase, even if traditional menswear players have to alter their offering to give more room to sportswear and casual styles, away from suiting (suits are simply worn less in emerging markets). The potential of the internet has yet to be fully harnessed by luxury fashion players.

Richemont’s recent investment in Net-a-Porter (and the valuation the investment commanded) confirms the perceived potential of this medium. Burberry is ahead of the curve in this category — its Facebook page has the largest following of any luxury brand, its social media website is streets ahead of competition and it was the first brand to sell runway items from its Autumn/Winter 2010 show direct from the webcast to consumers. The potential for volume and margin in this area is huge — the only cloud on the horizon being the high level of returns (around 40 percent) creating a working capital headache.

Let fashion do what fashion does best….re-invent itself

The designer brand model in its purest sense has probably had its heyday. However, just as we thought we’d never see shoulder pads again when Joan Collins’ flamboyant character Alexis Colby left our screens, with a few alterations here and there they are back with vengeance. We should expect no less from the designer fashion business.

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The beauty business

July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

The beauty business

Brainy models and a global talent pool are changing the catwalk

ON FEBRUARY 17th London’s spring fashion week begins. Across the capital, young women in vertiginous shoes and skimpy dresses will be teetering along catwalks. And thousands of young doughnut-dodgers will be inspired to queue outside agents’ offices for the slim chance of becoming the next Kate Moss.

Careers in modelling are typically short-lived, badly paid and less glamorous than pretty young dreamers imagine. Yet the business is changing. For one thing, educated models are in. This may sound improbable. In the film “Zoolander”, male models are portrayed as so dumb that they play-fight with petrol and then start smoking. But such stereotypes are so last year.

Lily Cole, a redheaded model favoured by Chanel and Hermès, recently left Cambridge University with a first-class degree in history of art. Edie Campbell, a new British star, is studying for the same degree at the Courtauld Institute in London. And Jacquetta Wheeler, one of Britain’s established catwalkers, has taken time out from promoting Burberry and Vivienne Westwood to work for Reprieve, a charity which campaigns for prisoners’ rights.

Natalie Hand of London’s Viva model agency, who represents Ms Campbell, says there has been a shift away from the “very young, impressionable models”, who were popular in the past ten years, to “more aspirational young women”. “There is an appetite now for models to be intelligent, well-mannered and educated,” says Catherine Ostler, a former editor of Tatler, a fashion and society magazine.

This is new. The best-known models of yesteryear often led rags-to-riches lives, courtesy of the rag trade. Twiggy, a star of the 1960s, was a factory worker’s daughter. Ms Moss’s mother was a barmaid.

But the big fashion houses and leading photographers are tiring of the drama that comes with plucking girls as young as 15 from obscurity and propelling them to sudden stardom. Too often, models were showing up to photo-shoots hours late or drug-addled. This wasted a huge amount of time and money. Fashion houses are now keen to avoid trouble. Many find that educated models show up to work on time and don’t go doolally as often.

Trends in the modelling business also follow those in the global economy. From the 1960s to the 1990s, America reigned supreme. The hottest “supermodels” were Americans such as Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington. They were figures whose glossy confidence mirrored America’s. They never woke up for less than $10,000. They were cultural icons, too, celebrated in songs such as Billy Joel’s “Uptown girl”, the video of which starred Christie Brinkley, who became his wife.

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July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

There is always someone who wants to be the next Kate or Naomi, but despite what the movies tell us, becoming a model isn’t just about being tall and beautiful. It’s about having the uniqueness, talent and drive to back up those looks. In this article, we will give you some tips that will hopefully teach you how to be a model.

Know the Type of Modeling you Want to Do

The first step in becoming a model is knowing what type of modeling you want to do. There are quite a few areas to choose from–print focuses on magazine photo shoots while runway models walk the catwalk for labels. There are also more commercial options such as being a swimsuit or catalogue model. Plus size modeling has made an impact in the recent years too. No matter which area you choose, most female models start at the very minimum height of 5’7″ but closer to 6’0″ is preferred.

Find the Right Agency

Now, that you have figured out what type of modeling you want to do–look for an agency that specializes in the field. You can search online for agencies quite easily. A simple “model agency” query will garner a lot of results. Search for an agency that’s local to your area, and it’s important to remember to research an agency first. Think: What models do they represent? What type of jobs do they book? Are there complaints online about this agency?

And remember, if an agency asks for money upfront, you should stay away. So called “modeling” schools are also suspect too. There are plenty of scammers out there looking to take advantage of aspiring talent.

Take the Right Photos

After you have researched the right agencies for the field you are interested in, you will want to contact them. Most agencies have forms online where you can send in your photos and stats. Stats include your height, measurements and weight. They will also want to see photos of you. Don’t worry, you do not need to get a professional shoot done. Simple digital photos are what most agencies require. Make sure to do a head shot and full-length shot. Wear no makeup and a simple tank top and pants. Take the photo in natural light so people can see your features. Look for a response within (usually) 4 weeks.

Some agencies will do open calls, where they will see aspiring models from the street–bring your digitals or past professional work printed out. Once again, keep your styling minimal. You may be told you are not what they’re looking for or get a callback later.

Think Ahead

If you are lucky enough to get signed, you should also know all the difficulties that come with the job. Depending on the jobs you book, traveling can take you away from home a lot. Rejection is also something, especially at the beginning of the career, you need to get used to. Even if signed, some models have part-time jobs. That’s why we recommend having a backup plan just in case your modeling career doesn’t pan out. But, if you manage to make it, there is a world of opportunities. Models like Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss have transformed their looks into lucrative careers with their business smarts. Think ahead, always!

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Become a Fashion Model – Catwalk Model

July 24th, 2014 modelrecruituk No comments

Become a Fashion Model, Catwalk Model

Can you be a fashion model or catwalk model? – Apply to be a fashion model and get your free fashion model evaluation!

For when being anything short of uber chic isn’t an option fashion modelling is the industry’s most revered type of modelling.

As a fashion model you will appear in magazines/newspaper editorials and you might be chosen to be in a catwalk show. Fashion models can promote clothes and accessories to customers, the media and to fashion buyers. Fashion models appear in catwalk shows or in photographs for magazines, advertising campaigns, newspapers and look books.

During a catwalk show the fashion models will move along the catwalk, walking and turning to display clothes in front of an audience. In photographic and advertising a fashion model will pose for photographers in a studio or on location and follow directions from the photographer. A fashion model works closely with stylists, hair and make-up artists, producers and directors. However, fashion modelling is not always as glamorous as it seems. A fashion model will also spend much time going to castings for jobs, keeping in contact with the fashion model agency and looking after his/her appearance.

Designers, photographers and magazine editors will all choose their models from a fashion model agency and there are agencies set up specifically to cater to the fashion industry. Most models are self employed and obtain work through their agents. As a fashion model, you will need to spend and invest wisely. For many, the work is irregular, and some models need additional jobs to make a full-time living. Although work opportunities are increasing, modelling is highly competitive with many applicants for each job. The Association of Model Agents (AMA) will provide you with a list of reputable fashion model agencies.

Once you have been accepted by a modelling agency, you will usually be given some training in basic walks, turns and poses, photographic modelling techniques, diet and health, skin care and grooming and how to work with agents. Some model agencies will even provide you with a few test shots (professional photographs) that will help start your portfolio to take with you on castings.

Reality, Can I Make it as a Fashion Model?

In an ideal world we would all be at least six feet tall with slender bodies and immaculate looks. The fashion model is the depiction of the fashion designers preference (tall slim girls and six feet tall muscular or slim toned men) and therefore will posses physical attributes that are out of the norm.

There are no set entry requirements into fashion modelling but an excellent appearance and personality are necessary. There is no set upper age limit however fewer jobs are available for people over 30.

There are many different types of modelling to suit a varied style of looks, but to be a fashion model the Association of Model Agents (AMA) recommends that you should have the following measurements:

Females: bust-waist-hip measurements of no more than 34-24-34 inches (86-61-86cms) and height of at least least five feet eight inches (1.72m).

Males: 38-40 inch (97-102cm) chest, 30-32 inch (76-81cm) waist, and height of at least six feet (1.83m).

Exceptions to this rule include Kate Moss (five feet six and a half) and  Devon Aoki (five feet five inches), proving that having the right ‘look’ can go a long way towards succeeding in fashion modelling. Designers and fashion photographers tend to prefer taller models. This is usually because sample dresses cut for the runway are usually made to fit a standard size and height and it is much easier to choose the model to fit the dress than it is to re-size the clothes to fit the model. Although there are exceptions to the rule it is more likely that you will have success as a fashion model if you fit the standard.

In the world of fashion modelling working hours are very flexible and often irregular. The work schedule of a fashion model is likely to include early starts and late finishes and may also include weekends. Work is often physically demanding, involving long periods of standing, walking and holding poses. A fashion model will not always work in photographic studios but will also be expected to perform on outdoor locations in all weathers.

If you succeed, a career in fashion modelling can be highly rewarding with the chance to meet the best professionals in the industry, with opportunities to appear on the covers of top fashion magazines and promote top brands’ products, the possibilities are endless.

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