Fashion models advertise clothes and accessories by modelling at events like catwalk shows, and appearing in photographs for magazines, newspapers and digital media.
1. Entry requirements
You’ll need a good appearance and the right ‘look’ for the branch of modelling you want to go into.
You should usually be tall and well-proportioned, with regular features and healthy skin, teeth and hair.
You don’t need to do a modelling course or have an expensive portfolio of pictures.
You’ll usually start your career by sending photographs and details of your measurements to a modelling agency. An agency can represent you and find work for you. Make sure you do your research and find a reputable agency. Although you don’t need an agency to find work, you may find it helpful to be accepted by one.
Model agencies are not allowed to charge an up-front fee for you to join them.
The Association of Model Agents has more information about becoming a fashion model.
2. Skills required
- good grooming and the ability to take care of your appearance
- confidence, self-reliance and discipline
- a pleasant, professional attitude with good people skills
- patience, stamina and fitness to cope with long, tiring days and travelling
- the ability to cope with criticism and rejection
- business skills and the ability to manage your finances
3. What you'll do
You’ll often have to go to casting sessions with potential clients or agencies. You’ll also spend a lot of time looking after your appearance.
You could specialise in different types of modelling, like:
- high fashion and catwalk
- photographic editorials for magazines
- advertising for magazines, billboards, websites, and social media
- TV commercials
- promotional modelling like music videos, personal appearances, leaflets and brochures
- in-house live modelling for designers and clothing wholesalers
In fashion show modelling you'll walk along a catwalk, turning to display clothes in front of an audience. You'll work closely with stylists, hair and make-up artists, producers and directors.
In photographic, advertising and promotional modelling you'll:
- take directions from photographers
- pose for photographers in a studio or on location
- act or deliver lines in TV commercials
If you’re working as an in-house live model, designers will fit garments onto you in the workshop, and you’ll show finished clothing to fashion buyers and private customers.
Models are usually self-employed. This means you’ll work as a freelance model contracted through an agency, or you’ll work directly for a client. If you’re represented by an agency, the agency will usually earn commission from their client.
Your earnings will vary depending on your experience and reputation within the modelling industry. Rates can vary from around £50 to £1,000 a booking.
If you’re a model employed by a fashion house, you could earn between £10,000 and £30,000 a year depending on the number of hours you work.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You could be modelling at fashion show venues, exhibitions, showrooms, stores or photographic studios.
The job can involve a lot of travel in the UK and overseas to attend castings, fashion shows and photo shoots.
Working hours could be long and irregular, and you’ll need to be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting around at castings and auditions.
6. Career path and progression
There's a lot of competition for modelling jobs. You’ll improve your chances of finding work if you build up a good portfolio and get experience and contacts.
With experience, you could become a booker for a model agency or set up your own agency. You could also move into other areas of the fashion industry like styling or fashion journalism.
You might also find opportunities in areas like TV presenting or acting.
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Last updated: 21 April 2017