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How to become a Fashion Model

fashion model careers

What does a Fashion Model do?

Fashion models promote clothing and accessories to fashion buyers and customers. They appear modelling items in fashion shows or in photographs for catalogues, magazines and posters.

Models may work as:

Show models - who work through an agency. The agency takes bookings from clients who need models to display clothes at fashion shows. They might also work at fashion exhibitions, walking around to show off the clothes, and could demonstrate or display non-fashion items, such as cars or furniture, at product launches and exhibitions.

Photographic models - who are photographed in the studio or on location. Models follow the photographer and stylist’s directions, holding poses or facial expressions. Only a few top models work in the high-fashion women’s magazines; more opportunities exist modelling clothes for mail order catalogues, advertisements, newspapers and posters. With experience, they might work in TV or cinema advertising. Models with exceptional features such as teeth, hair and hands, can sometimes specialise in this particular work.

Fashion house models - who are used as live models while designers drape, cut and pin fabric and clothes on the model. They show finished clothes to buyers from shops and wholesalers, to fashion journalists and to individual customers. Models might show the collections at fashion shows, and might have other duties, such as greeting visitors or answering the phone.

What's the working environment like working as a Fashion Model?

There are no set working hours, but days can be very long.

Working conditions vary - models may work indoors in a wide range of locations or out of doors in all weathers. The work is physically demanding as models spend most of their time on their feet. They usually travel away from home for long or short periods, either auditioning or for shows and photo sessions.

What does it take to become a Fashion Model?

To be a model you should be:

  • able to look after your complexion and figure, even when rushing from one job to the next
  • interested in fashion and trends in clothes, hair and make-up
  • confident and self-reliant, with the discipline to cope with long, tiring days and hectic atmospheres
  • professional with a pleasant personality for working with other models, photographers, designers and so on
  • resilient with the initiative to find work, especially in the early stages of your career
  • able to take criticism and rejection
  • punctual and well-prepared for each assignment
  • healthy with good stamina to cope with a demanding lifestyle.

Fashion Model Career Opportunities

Models are mostly self-employed and get work through a modelling agency.

Competition is strong and work can be difficult to find even after being accepted on an agency’s books. There are very few opportunities for permanent positions with wholesale and retail fashion businesses.

There are more opportunities for models based in and around London. However, the number of agencies based outside London is increasing. Prospects improve by gaining experience, contacts and exposure, and building an impressive portfolio. Once established, higher salaries and more interesting assignments are possible.

Most models finish their career before 30, although older models may be needed for specific assignments.

It may be possible to move into related areas, such as running a modelling agency, fashion journalism, or sales and marketing.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Fashion Model that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Association of Model Agents
122 Brompton Road
Tel: 020 7564 6466
(Please send an SAE for information)

Alba Model Information
31 The High Street
Tel: 0871 717 7170

Northern Ireland School of Modelling
954 Antrim Road
BT39 0AT
Tel: 028 9443 3626

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Courses to help you become a Fashion Model