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Complete Guide to Fashion Modelling

Learn all there is to know about becoming a fashion model and working in the industry including some inside tips from successful fashion models.

Fashion modeling, encompassing runway and print work, is a primary sector within the modeling industry, dedicated to promoting various fashion products. It’s a highly demanded and rapidly growing field, offering numerous opportunities for newcomers aiming to break into modeling. This guide will cover essential aspects of fashion modeling, including the requirements and preparation needed to succeed in this vibrant and expanding niche, providing a comprehensive overview for those aspiring to become fashion models.

What is a fashion model?

A fashion model promotes clothing, accessories, and shoes, with clients considering their overall appearance rather than specific features. Hunter believes anyone, regardless of size, shape, age, or cultural background, can model, reflecting the industry’s growing diversity. While more opportunities arise for diverse models, including plus-sized and older models, the majority of fashion modeling briefs still favor those within certain height and weight ranges. This is due to fashion houses preferring models who fit standard-sized outfits to minimize alterations for runway shows, where quick changes are essential.

With this in mind, the general requirements for fashion models are as follows:

Female models – 5’8” or taller weighing around 59kg or less
Male models – 6’ or taller weighing around 77kg or less

But don’t for a second think that those are hard and fast rules. If you want to work exclusively on the runway, then yes, you’ll find it quite difficult to land modelling gigs if you’re outside of those ranges unless you are specifically working as a plus sized model. However, for general fashion modelling, while those ranges are ideal, you can still land print work if you’re shorter or heavier than the requirements. Just bear in mind that as there will be fewer assignments without those basic requirements, you may have longer breaks between modelling jobs.

Is fashion modelling easy?

Show us a fashion model who says their work is easy and we’ll take a bite out of the Hunter Talent office hat — well we would if we had one, but you get the point. There are no types of modelling that are easy. Even hand modelling which ‘only’ uses your hand is super tiring and takes a lot of effort. To put it another way, if fashion modelling was easy, we’d all be doing it, right?
No, fashion modelling is not easy, but like many jobs it can be incredibly rewarding and lots of fun too.

A fashion modelling assignment could be anything from a couple of hours for a quick shoot or a full day of changing outfits in a hot studio. Then you have to take into account any travel to and from the shoot which, if you’re hired for a major campaign or event could involve train journeys or even flights. And that’s before we even consider the hard graft you’ll need to put into honing your modelling skills and keeping on top of industry trends and so on. But perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of fashion modelling is the whole rejection thing. Now, if you’re new to the industry this is something that you really need to know — fashion models face rejection on a very regular basis. This makes sense when you think about it as there are often hundreds of models under consideration for an assignment and they can’t all land the gig. So if you’re going to be a fashion model, you’ll need to learn to be patient and take rejection on the chin because it’s really not personal.

What skills do fashion models need?

Now as you can see, fashion modelling is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work and no small amount of patience, but what are the actual skills required to succeed in the industry?

Well, we’re glad you asked because contrary to popular belief, fashion modelling is a skilled job that requires as much talent as it does hard graft. Luckily for you, the majority of the skills required to be a fashion model are learnable skills. This is why models go to model school.

Here are just a few of the most notable skills all successful models will have in common.

They know how to walk

Mastering the model walk, distinct from everyday walking, is essential for fashion models, including those in print campaigns. This runway strut, emblematic of supermodels, might feel awkward at first but is a fundamental skill. For beginners, resources like YouTube tutorials can be invaluable. Practicing in front of a full-length mirror or recording yourself can help perfect this walk, a prerequisite for live modeling assignments at events or shows.

They know how to pose

Posing is even more crucial than walking for fashion models, as it aids photographers in capturing the perfect shot by providing a variety of poses. Studying successful models to understand their body positioning, facial expressions, and how they adapt to different themes can be immensely helpful. Practice is key to developing a repertoire of poses that can be seamlessly adopted during shoots. Naming your poses can also aid in quick recall, though it’s suggested to avoid humorous or clichéd names in professional settings.

They’re patient

Fashion models don’t just need to be patient when waiting on modelling opportunities to come along. They also need to be patient on the job too. There will be times when the photographer needs the lighting to be just right or the client wants a different approach in the shots — these are the times when a fashion model is often left waiting around for things to be prepped just right. Then again they may simply have to shoot and reshoot again and again until everything is just right. A fashion model who cannot be patient and accept that this is part of the job will have a very tough time indeed.

They’re good with people

Fashion models frequently interact with a range of industry professionals, including photographers, designers, and marketing executives, necessitating strong interpersonal skills. Being pleasant and easy to work with often leads to repeat bookings for campaigns or assignments. Additionally, models may represent brands at events and exhibitions, where the ability to engage with potential customers or clients is invaluable. Thus, outgoing personalities tend to thrive in fashion modeling, highlighting the importance of communication and collaboration in the industry.

They understand industry trends

A good fashion model will be pretty much on point when it comes to their own sense of style and what’s hot and what’s not. Now, this won’t land you an assignment, but it does help when you’re on set if you understand the things that the photographer and perhaps the client are talking about fashion-wise. Besides, it’s good to take a strong interest in the industry you work in.

Fashion model work and assignments

It’s no surprise that the majority of fashion modelling work involves fashion. What new models are surprised by though is where their modelling can take them and the enormous range of niches within the fashion industry umbrella. You’ve every accessory under the sun along with any and we mean any type of clothing you can think of. And that’s before we even get started on location shoots that could take you quite literally anywhere.

 

As a new fashion model starting out, you’ll likely spend a great deal of time working on print assignments for catalogues or advertisements. These types of assignments usually take no longer than a day of shooting and while tiring, can be pretty straightforward. Runway modelling is another ball game. It’s fast-paced and requires a lot of energy. Live modelling assignments are usually just for a half day or full day, but at times they can run for longer if it’s fashion week for example.

 

Those who are new to fashion modelling are also often surprised at the fact that they may also be asked to do commercial modelling. This would typically be a film shoot for a TV commercial and could take anything from a day to a full week of shooting. Even if you don’t want to be an actor, it pays to be open to these opportunities as it’s a great chance to get your face out there particularly if it’s a nationwide ad campaign for a major brand. One thing we will say about fashion modelling is that no two days are remotely the same which makes it quite an exciting and interesting career.

How much do fashion models get paid?

This is a very open-ended question because there are so many variables that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict just how much a fashion model will get paid. For example, a major brand may pay a lot more for a model for a national print campaign than a smaller company would for a few catalogue images. In other words, it all depends on the brief and the client.

 

However, that said, you can rest assured that if you are working regularly, you will make a good living. Most models can expect to make between $350 to $600 for a session and more once they start making a name for themselves. On average, a successful model can make around $80,000 per year. But like we said, there are a lot of factors that could have both a positive and negative impact on that figure chief of which is the effort that you yourself put into your career.

 

If you work hard and remember to keep honing those skills, you’ll earn a reputation as a good fashion model. And that’s the key to earning the big bucks. Get to the point where clients ask for you by name and your rates could jump into the thousands of dollars for a shoot.

A fashion model’s tips for career success

If fashion modelling is something that you are serious about pursuing then it’s best to start off on the right foot. And what better way than by following in the footsteps of those that have been there and done that. In our many years in the business, the Hunter Talent team has worked with many successful fashion models and these are their tips for career success.

Recognise your strengths and weaknesses

As an aspiring fashion model, it’s important to identify both your strengths and weaknesses. Fashion modeling requires continuous improvement, and recognizing areas needing development allows for targeted skill enhancement. Focusing solely on strengths while neglecting weaknesses can hinder long-term career progress. Emphasizing balanced growth is crucial for success in the modeling industry.

Wear sun protection

Yep, this is a simple one and something that we all should be doing anyway but we’ll just remind you that you need to protect your skin from the sun at all times. It may be tempting to sunbathe in an attempt to get a healthy glow, but trust us, it’s not worth it. A client is only interested in your natural look and that means taking good care of your skin.

Keep beauty treatments to a minimum

Beauty treatments can be great but only if they are occasional. You see the fact is that when you work in fashion modelling, you’ll have a lot of makeup on when working. In fact, you may even have your makeup done more than once for a shoot which isn’t the greatest for your skin. This is why it’s a good idea to give your skin a break when you’re not working. And that means minimal makeup and beauty treatments. You want your skin to be in peak condition at all times and letting it breathe is the best way to keep it free from zits and pimples.

Eat healthy

The idea that fashion models must follow a strict diet is a misconception. Like anyone else, models need a healthy diet and regular exercise, with the main difference being a reduced intake of junk food. Healthy, nutritional eating helps maintain shape and energy levels, crucial for the demanding work in fashion modeling, without the need for strict dieting.

Start networking as soon as possible

Networking is crucial in fashion modeling, helping models get recognized by clients, photographers, and designers. It’s advisable to start networking early, connecting with industry professionals and informing friends and family about your career to potentially open new opportunities. Utilizing your people skills is key, but it’s important to network thoughtfully to avoid being perceived as overly persistent in seeking contacts and opportunities.

How to get started as a fashion model

This guide will introduce the foundational steps to get started as a fashion model, offering insights into navigating the competitive world of fashion with confidence and professionalism.

A fashion model’s tips for career success

If fashion modelling is something that you are serious about pursuing then it’s best to start off on the right foot. And what better way than by following in the footsteps of those that have been there and done that. In our many years in the business, the Hunter Talent team has worked with many successful fashion models and these are their tips for career success.

Find an agency

This is the first step that you need to take as an aspiring fashion model — find an agency. But before you jump the gun and call the first one that you come across, you can’t just find any agency, it needs to be the right agency.

 

What do we mean by the right agency? Well, it has to be one with a solid reputation for helping the models on its books achieve success. Not only that but it will have a track record of working with great clients. We’re talking about household names that the agency can show you details of having worked with before. This proves that it’s a trusted agency and that it only works with the best. There’s also the added bonus that clients will often return to the same agency time and time again to hire models.

 

We’d love to tell you to forget the rest and sign with Hunter Talent, but the truth is that some models and agencies are not a good fit for each other. That’s why it pays to do your research and check out a few. We’re pretty sure you’ll give us a call too and who knows we might be the perfect fit.

 

We’ll just give you a word of warning — an agency that tries to sign you without meeting you in person or at least over a video call is not the right agency. They are most likely after your membership fees and probably won’t do a whole lot to promote you.

Create a portfolio

Once you have an agency sorted, it’s time to create your fashion modelling portfolio. This is a collection of images that a casting director, photographer, or client will look at to see if you’ve got the right look for their project. As you can imagine, this means that your portfolio is an incredibly important tool in your modelling career.

 

The reason we suggest doing this after you find an agency is because the agency will be able to tell you exactly what type of images their clients expect to see in a portfolio. They will also have a recommendation for a local photographer who has portfolio experience. It’s crucial that you have your portfolio shot by a professional as the clients will expect to see what you look like in a studio setting. And believe it or not, it’s also important that they have portfolio experience too. This means that they will be able to shoot the right images highlighting your best features in precisely the way a client will expect.

 

So no self portraits or photos taken by a friend with a DSLR. You need a professional portfolio because, let’s face it, this is your profession, right?

Take care of your body

This is good common sense but we’ll remind you of it again — take good care of your body. Your body and its health is extremely important for your fashion modelling career so it makes sense to take good care of it. That means healthy eating, plenty of sleep, and getting enough exercise.

 

There’s also the fact that a client will look at your portfolio and expect to see an accurate representation of what you look like so that means that you’ll want to maintain your physique and skin health. When it comes to weight, this works both ways. Any major changes in weight either gains or losses will mean that you need to update your portfolio and those sessions can be expensive.

Work on those modelling skills

Our last tip for getting started is to start working on those modelling skills and to keep it up for as long as you can. It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily practice routine that you can fit into your schedule. For example, work on poses and your walk for 15-20 minutes each and every morning. Once you get used to it, this will become just another thing that you do in the morning but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your fashion modelling career.

How to prepare for a fashion model shoot

So you’ve landed your first fashion modelling assignment and the excitement is palpable. We’re guessing that the nerves are there too, but don’t worry, nerves are perfectly natural. Here are a few things that you can do to ease those nerves and make sure that your first fashion modelling assignment gets off to a good start.

  • First and foremost, you’ll want to limit your activity in the days leading up to the job to stuff that won’t get you injured. If the modelling job is on Tuesday and you have plans to go rock climbing on Sunday, we’d recommend that you give the rock climbing a miss. This is your first assignment and the last thing you want is to be struggling with a stretched muscle or something similar. Trust us, there will be plenty of rocks to climb, but you’ll only ever have one chance at your first modelling assignment.
  • Avoid experimenting with food in the days leading up to your shoot. Sure, you can stick to the food you always eat, but if a new taco truck arrives in your neighbourhood the night before the shoot, we’d avoid trying it out. Nothing worse than gas or an upset stomach when a photographer is asking you to pose just so for the 30th time.
  • Drop the caffeine — wait, what??? Hear us out. If you like your coffee and you’re feeling nervous you know what’s going to happen. Three or four cups before a shoot could leave you feeling all antsy which won’t help with your posing at all. If anything it will make those nerves even worse too so we’d advise you to skip the coffee or have a decaf.
  • The last tip we have is probably the most important and that’s to know the details of your shoot. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve had to calm panicked first-timers who have underestimated the time it takes to get to a shoot and are worried that they will be late. Don’t be like that. When your agency tells you the details of your shoot, figure out your route and make a plan. Whatever time you think you need to leave, move it twenty minutes earlier just in case. No one will be annoyed if you show up early but if you show up late… well, let’s just say that time is money.

Become a Fashion Model

And that’s about as much as we can tell you about working as a fashion model. Just make sure that you take good care of your body and keep honing your modelling skills.

 

Work hard and we see no reason why you can’t become a success in the fashion modelling industry. Just remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming a top fashion model requires patience, but if you have the right agency by your side, you’re off to a great start.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a fashion model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent.

 

We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.

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