Social media is the double-edged sword in the fashion industry, that is still trying to grasp how to use it to its full advantage. While the social media presence of a model is something that draws an agency and ultimately, a designer to a model (think Justin Bieber and Calvin Klein), social media has also opened up an unilimited resource of fresh faces for modeling agencies to pick from.
“I don’t believe that fashion is based on social media,” Hendrich continued. “Social media is definitely something we educate our talent to be more involved with, only because we are seeing the trend of designers asking about social media numbers.”
This symbiotic relationship between agencies, models and designers is what is fueling the celebrity model trend, and with the continued growth of social media it is at its peak.
Recently, W Magazine teamed up with IMG and discovered Alexis Primous using social media, and she made her debut in the coveted September issue of the magazine. IMG is also actively looking for models on Instagram every day, through their We Love Your Genes division using the hashtag #WLYG, proving models just need to know how to use social media to their advantage, not necessarily amass a huge following before their first runway show.
Models are also taking bookings into their own hand by using phone applications like Swipecast, that allows them to upload profiles and appeal to potential agents/casting directors.
“I think it’s an inclusive moment, and it’s the brand being your friend, and not trying to sell you something,” said Pattern To Plan founder and fashion social media consultant Gretchen Harnick. “In the modeling world, and we’re in a time of individuality, with everything from the feminist moment, to the transgender models, I like that they are scouting models through social media. It’s inclusive, everyone has a chance in this day and age to create their own future.”
Currently, agencies are striving to find the balance of working with celebrity models and getting their “normal” models on social media, all for brand recognition.
“When a model comes into the industry it’s because they photograph well, they move well and they are who we believe we can build into being the next big thing,” Hendrich said. “Along the way we start working on their social media platforms. There are some models that don’t want to have their social media and their day-to-day life put out into the world. You have to really want it. It takes a lot of work to build that social media presence by posting every day, and taking selfies and really building your social media following.”
At the end of the day, it is a reminder that celebrity models will soon not be the only ones with a built in audience as an advantage, and just like any other trend it has an expiration date. So this fashion week, instead of focusing on the Kendalls and Gigis, look for the girl walking right behind them who could be the next big thing.
“Celebrity models have been a part of the industry for a very long time, this isn’t anything new,” Hendrich said. “I think currently there’s been a lot trending with kids with celebrity parents, and having those attachments, but trends do change. I also believe that’s there’s always a chance for a model to come up the ranks and become the next superstar.”