You’re so pretty you should model.’ ‘You’re tall have you ever considered modelling.’ I mean no-one has ever said this to me, but it is a common misconception that these are the only characteristics required to be a model.
The first modelling agency was Ford models which was founded in 1946, this opened many doors for those looking to take modelling from a hobby to a career. Models became successful by being known in the fashion industry rather than being known in wider pop culture. In the 1960s modelling agencies began to pop up and fashion hubs began to establish themselves, especially London. Modelling competitions were popular ways to find fresh faces in the 1970s and 1980s, which enabled models to gain more exposure to the world outside of fashion.
The 1990s saw the rise of the supermodel such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Tyra Banks. These models were not only known in the fashion industry but also in wider pop culture which enabled them to thrive outside the world of high fashion. Appearances in campaigns and on TV brought these models out of the remit of their world and changed the nature of their career.
So where are we now? The digital age has revitalised many creative industries and modelling is not exempt from that. The supermodel continues to reign but with a different sort of popularity, now dictated by social media. The number of followers you have not only dictates how popular you are but can also affect how successful you are. In addition, social media has also made the industry more readily available to those outside the industry. With models having YouTube channels and magazines offering an insider look into the industry, we no longer feel like outsiders when discussing the fashion industry.
Returning now to the opening paragraph, being a model is more than just a pretty face. It involves a lot of hard work and dealing with a lot of rejection. As the world continues to evolve and fashion continues to mirror this evolution, it will be interesting to see what will become of the modelling industry in years to come.