By Jessica Frost

Somehow, the idea of the influencer and Instagram models burst into the industry so quickly that there was never really time to actually consider what was going on. We all just seemed to instantly accept that anyone with a decent sized and relatively engaged following became a new league of celebrity, tasked with selling designer fashion, beauty products and promoting events.

Now though, we’re becoming a much more considered society and whether it’s right to be doing so or not, are taking a critical look at just about everything. When it comes to influencers, I could write for days on end, questioning their new found fashion fame but one topic in particular has caught my attention; should model influencers be paid to attend events?

If you’re a starter in the industry like myself, you’ve probably been told once or twice how important networking is and that working for free is really an investment in your career. The same doesn’t seem to ring true though for many models and influencers though who are instead paid to attend events that they see as parties and many others see as those crucial investments.

It’s kind of a strange concept. Models, bloggers and internet celebs get invited to all of the hottest parties; brand launches, product launches, anniversary celebrations, events to boost a brands public profile; the list goes on. Instead of using these events though to get exposure, mingle with people who can get them work in the future or to simply have a good time because let’s face it, that’s what being alive is all about, they pick, choose and negotiate to fill their schedule with only the highest paying appearances.

Shouldn’t models be wanting to attend these events voluntarily though? At the end of the day, it works as a marketing tool for them as much as the event sponsors so what’s with the pay check? I feel like we’re ending up with a feed full of ‘personalities’ that are actually only showing us a lifestyle that they are paid to show us under the guise of sharing their, albeit overtly glamourous, day-to-day.

I can’t say whether or not paying a model influencer to attend an event is worth it because I’ve never seen any facts or figures about whether or not it leads to increased ticket sales or higher sales of the products of the events sponsors. But it feels kind of fake and makes me wonder if other people are noticing the prosthetic nature of it all or are instead buying into the image.

From the hosts or brands perspective, shouldn’t they be creating an event that is good enough to make people, including models, want to go without having to pay them for a few social posts? I’d be interested to know how these sponsored guests and influencer appearances are factored into the events budget.

In asking all of these questions, I don’t really expect answers. After all, this industry is full of secrets and I’m ok with that (some of them at least). I do think it’s important to stop and think though about the changing landscape of the fashion industry because 100k likes on an insta post doesn’t make something great.