History of Modelling
As fashion was always a point of concern for people, fashion and modelling industries were found way back in time. Modelling was established as a profession in the mid 19th century. And initially, the ‘size’ of a model was not taken into consideration. Rather, designers used models of different sizes to represent various designs. With time, the modelling industry grew, but the models were known in the industry only. For people outside it, they remained unknown. And the models were confined to ramp walks.
Also, the models were not paid well at that time. Later, modelling expanded to the photography world and photo modelling started. As time went by, modelling agencies were established and the models started getting better payments. In the 70s, the agencies started defining the standards for models, which are still followed. And they became more business-minded. But they did not have enough clients for models to work for. So, they started conducting modelling competitions in cooperation with Ford Models.
By the 80s, the models were paid enough to make them choose modelling as a full-time career. Also, the agencies started targeting global clients and modelling went global. But this all was happening in Europe. The other world was still unknown from the word ‘modelling.’ The second in the industry were Asians, they started modelling agencies in the mid-90s.
Final changes in the industry
In the 90s, the fashion industry refreshed and made themselves more youthful. With this, the standards of models changed too. Agencies wanted more youthful and sexier models. The 2000s saw some harsh change in the industry. Different agencies were fighting with each other and the models’ lives became harsher. As per the standards, which were set in the 70s, a model’s health was always a point of concern. But as the demand grew, many young models started dying because of eating disorders.
Because of all these controversies, many countries set the age limit of sixteen to enter into the modelling industry. New York made more strict rules for underaged models, such as defining their work hours.
The modelling industry has changed drastically since it was first established in the 1850s. Also, there are various types of models in the industry now, like fashion models, fitness models, glamour model, etc. These different types are defined by the work these models do. But it won’t be wrong to say that modelling is a big world now. So, here are some of the modern reality of the modelling industry.
People have a misconception about modelling, they think that ‘being pretty’ is the only job that models have. Which is far away from what the models actually have to do. People are not completely wrong, they just don’t know the whole story. The pretty and glamourous side of modelling is just its end results. What models have to do to get to that glamour position is the other side of the story and that is way bigger than the previous one.
Struggles of a model
The models not only have to take care of their physical health, but they also have to be very smart. And this intelligence is equally important as being pretty. This is because the models are considered as brands and they have to run themselves. So, basically being a model is like being a business. Only that business is handled by employees, while the only employee handling the models are the models themselves. They are their own managers, PRs, etc. While being all this, they also have to take care of their mental healths as this whole process is generally physically, mentally and emotionally draining.
Earlier, models were models when they were working. But in this era of the internet, they have to be models 24×7. Because people follow them on their social media, so they expect them to look similar to their pictures. And the models do not know where they bump into a fan of theirs. So they have to maintain their looks wherever they go. Also, as they are surrounded by the fashion and beauty industries all day long, their own thinking process changes a bit.
Not only their own thinking affects them, but people around them are always giving them opinions and advice on how to be better. This is because nobody fits in the image of a perfect model which is set either by the industry itself or by Hollywood and magazines. But most of the models feel that physical beauty does not matter as physical preferences changes with the place. Like people from one place will consider ‘skinny’ as perfect, while people from another place, will call them ‘sick or ill.’ Models feel that inner beauty is what matters the most.
Some of the other challenges faced by models are:
- Money: From the outside, it may look that these models are paid tons of money. But truth is that most of the models are still not paid well enough. Only the well-established models have the advantage of earning good money.
- Uncertainty: The modelling job is very uncertain. A model might be getting thousands of offers today and tomorrow she might not get any.
- Tough for the Male Models: Because the industry works on glamour, so it is tough for the men to enter into the industry. Even if they manage to do so, they are not paid well as the female models.
- Agencies charge too: The models have to go the agencies as they manage all the modelling work for big brands. And these agencies charge the models on a monthly or yearly basis. Even when they are paying, the conformation of work is still not there.
While the models are already facing so many challenges in the industry, there can be another one waiting for them in the future. As technology is changing rapidly, so in the near future models might be replaced by the avatars originated on computers. The researchers are already working on this kind of technology.
But one of the researchers said that this technology will not replace the models, it will only make their work easier. The models will have to wear motion capture suits and move as they do and an avatar will be used to show their motion to the audience. So the hassle of changing outfits or makeup, will not be there as everything will be changed virtually on the avatar.
No profession is as easy as it seems. And so is modelling. It is a very tiring and complex profession that provides models with lots of challenges. But hats off to them, as they always wear a smiling face and never show the world their problems.