Monday, November 7, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

The Evolution of the Business of Fashion: Models 
By Julie Zerbo of The Fashion Law

Ford Models co-founder, Eileen Ford, recently spoke about the evolution of the modeling industry, and she is definitely a trustworthy source as Ford is one of the most renowned agents in the world! Ford said: "Well, modeling has always been a business. But it was not the way it is today where models have clothing lines. Look at Kate Moss. Back then, models were stars, but they were not at all commercially successful as brands because nobody ever thought of using them that way, except maybe CoverGirl."

Ford has such an accurate and extremely relevant perspective.  The key to the business of everything these days, including the business of fashion and the business of modeling, is branding! It seems that more than ever brands are first and foremost selling their brand and secondarily, they are selling their products. When you buy Hermes, you are buying old-world luxury and quality. When you buy Tom Ford, you are buying sex appeal. When you buy the Row, you are arguably buying the essence of the Olsen twins; and please note, when I say this I am not downgrading their brand because the quality and the design is impeccable. However, these two girls are, above all, amazing branders and they have been from their days with Wal-Mart. They aren't worth over a billion for nothing! 

It’s no wonder why the use of branding stands out big-time in the world of fashion and modeling. Models faces are everywhere, and this is what Ford is getting at. Models aren’t just selling couture anymore. They are selling themselves and then, they are selling clothes, the Hotel Bel-Air, Moet, and BMW’s.

The original supermodels (Cindy, Linda, Christy, Claudia, Naomi and Kate) just did not permeate our culture in the 1990’s like models do now. Brands certainly existed then. Cindy was known for her mole. Claudia was known for her striking resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Kate was known and still is known for the heroin chic look. In this way, it’s much the same today. Freja Beha Erichsen is the cool girl. Gisele is known as the return of the sexy model. Charlotte Free is known for her pink hair. So, what has changed? These girls are taking their brands a step further. They are not just walking the runway or appearing on the cover of Vogue. They are actresses, singers, authors, fashion designers, stylists, the faces of their own lines, and this has turned modeling into an even bigger business than before! 

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a Burberry advertisement

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley starring in Transformers: Dark of the Moon    
Abbey Lee Kershaw on the cover of Deutsch Vogue

Abbey Lee with her band, Our Mountain
Erin Wasson walking on Balmain's show in Paris  
Erin Wasson in an advertisement for her clothing line with RVCA

 *Special thanks to Julie for a great contributing post!  Check out The Fashion Law for more!

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