By Jenni Sellan
It’s model Vs celebrity…
Just last week, Oracle Fox’s’ Amanda Shadforth, released a campaign in collaboration with internationally acclaimed design duo Viktor and Rolf for their fragrance, Flowerbomb. In February, fashion bloggers Chiara Ferragni, (The Blonde Salad) Nicole Warne (Gary Pepper Girl) and Zanita Whittington, (Zanita) graced the covers of Lucky; Olivia Palermo for La Mer, Jennifer Lawrence for Dior and Keira Knightly for Chanel.
We could go on for days citing examples of how super bloggers’ and celebrities are infiltrating the most coveted spaces and scoring the most lucrative contracts and collaborations that the fashion and beauty industries have on offer; the very same deals that a model knows represent the pinnacle of their career and guaranteed success in the industry.
The space is fiercely competitive and fashion models are no longer competing only amongst themselves. Actors are not just acting, musicians are not just playing and bloggers are doing a whole lot more than writing for a hobby on a Sunday afternoon.
Much like most traditional pathways the boundaries are blurred in the age of digital disruption; the rules are, there are no rules and bloggers and the celebrity set are taking front row seats and getting their model on.
In response to the recent signing of Kendall Jenner to Estée Lauder, proving to be quite the controversial move, Baze Mpinja for Yahoo.com said this, “It’s becoming clear that tapping a sought after ‘instagirl’ with a massive social media following just might be the smartest and fastest way to get a new generation of beauty junkies hooked on a venerable brand”
Decisions like the signing of Kendall are calculated commercial moves by the biggest corporate players in the industry and with just 15 models in 45 years being granted the holy grail that is an Estée Lauder contract, it might be fair to say that those places will be even harder to fight for in the next 45!
So how do models sustain themselves in this space that has become increasingly crowded, because it seems that insane genetic blessing and the perfect portfolio will not hold enough weight without influence over an army of followers?
What does the competitive edge for fashion models look like both now and in the future?
It’s a brand unto itself. It’s diverse (Cara Delevingne, the perfect example expanding her reach and influence through film) and engaging, it’s connected and certainly not without a degree of reality.
And it’s this reality piece that the blogging industry has nailed, with blogs ranking as the top 5 most trusted sources of info on the net, (technarait.com).
Bloggers are trusted because of their unique voice and to a degree have become our daily dose of reality; the unscripted opinion that we can identify with.
Keeping it real is a huge part of the appeal and while there is no denying that our everyday lives are miles away from the Gigi’s, Cara’s and Karlie Kloss’s of the world, it’s the little bites of reality that keep us ‘swiping like’, and working for 12 months to save for the “IT” bag that Chanel sent them for free.
To be competitive in what was traditionally a space that largely belonged to them, models will need to be focused on creating a mass following and ensuring that their voice has influence and of course back it up with the numbers, demonstrating to the big brands that they can create a high level of exposure at a fraction of the cost of an advertising campaign.
Modelling requires so much more than a pretty face; determination, the ability to get back up in the face of countless rejections, and a resilience that most of us on our best days would struggle to own, and while these are all admirable personal qualities, they won’t keep fashion models in the game without an equally strong social media presence. It has become as critical to a models profile as their portfolio.
You can be the most beautiful girl in the world, and have the intelligence to match, but if you aren’t considered a brand unto yourself, then chances are the lucrative deals will not come your way. Genetic blessing will never be enough, but combined with the strength of the social media platform to extend their influence and reach, models might just start to tip the weight their way for those lucrative contracts.
Models. – Be fun. Be fierce. Be social media savvy and strike an instapose