The modelling industry is already competitive as it is. Throw in a surge of Social Media and see what happens. The new ‘it’ girl line up is comprised of names like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who have been deemed the supermodels of the generation. Sites like Twitter and Instagram have given them a leg up to social and professional stardom, but how has our beloved Social Media changed the face of the modelling industry as we know it?
Some of the more seasoned models in the industry have commented on the effect of Social Media on casting. Specifically, how a good following holds equal importance to having ‘the look’. Recently, some agencies use Instagram to scout new talent, IMG being one of the biggest, who encourages girls to use the hashtag ‘we love you genes’ to make themselves known. Whilst this makes youthful dreams a tangible prospect, maintaining a persona is just as important as creating it. Rachel Finninger commented on how hard some girls work to stay relevant, ‘It’s exhausting trying to find your niche and build a brand around it,’ hinting that maybe so much effort is needed because the persona is not sincere. Brands want a face that will represent them to the masses. Storm Model Management’s Sarah Doukas confessed to Vogue, “Looks are obviously still first and foremost, but if you have two girls who are both perfect for something, without a shadow of a doubt the one with the bigger social following would win the job.” Though some models may resent their excessive use of social media in hindsight; like Kendall Jenner, who has an army of followers and the most liked photograph on any Social Media platform now admittedly limits what she posts online. However, most are happy to use this stage to share intimate details of their lives. The voyeuristic society we live in allows us to take a curious front seat into celebrities lives – and models as glamorous as they are, are among the most sought after.
One thing recent Fashion shows have in common is the sea of glowing screens that infiltrate the crowd. Because Social Media is so quick, the high street can imitate lines straight off the runway. In the past, Fashion shows were a closed off event, and one would have to wait months to see what the designers came up with for the season. The current set up really takes the intimacy out of the experience. There is often a barrier between the model and the crowd – a somewhat detached audience looks on through a snapchat filter instead of watching the show in real time. It is the paradox of our time: we are now more connected than ever but at the same time we are in a state of constant disconnect. As a result, fashion week has lost its fabulous exclusivity as we can now watch nearly every event online, even get a back stage seat if you follow the right person on Instagram.