Photogenic Models Need Not Apply

Are singers the new models? That’s the question that must be asked with the increasing use of celebrities as the faces of notable fashion campaigns. Generally, New York modeling agencies would have scored these high profile campaigns but now that seems a distant memory. Just recently, singer, Sky Ferreira, became the primary model of Forever 21’s summer campaign and today it was revealed that Beyonce will grace advertisements across the globe as the face of H&M’s new summer campaign. Is this a new trend or old news?

Well, the increasing use of celebrity to promote brands or publications is certainly not a recent development. Today, America magazines like Elle and Vogue only put celebrities on the covers of their publications, not models.  Iconic editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, is often credited with this shift of placing celebrities, not models, on the cover of magazines.  Although magazine companies like Hearst and Conde Nast have benefitted from the money made by promoting a celebrity, many models have lost an opportunity that used to ‘make’ a model’s career and propel them to supermodel status. Since the 1980s & 1990s, fashion photographers rarely shoot models as cover girls and instead must plan their shoot around a preselected celebrity.

So, is this change a good thing or a bad thing? This issue has many different sides but one interesting possibility is that using celebrities will cut down on the amount of Photoshop used in creating an image. Why is this the case? Celebrities are ‘known’ figures and they need to be recognizable to consumers. Although, celebrities might become ‘beautified’ and made thinner than normal, they cannot take away a star’s trademark features, even if they are not thought of as classically beautiful. For instance, a photographer may change a model’s nose to be thinner and more photogenic but if the celebrity is known for her nose, like “Glee” star, Lea Michele, they cannot risk changing their features without confusing consumers.

Today the modeling word seems to be split into two factions, “print” and “runway”. As Supermodel and an executive producer of Oxygen’s “The Face”, Naomi Campbell says, “When I started modeling, there was a separation of girls that did shows and girls that did print. And my generation did both. That’s when it changed…we want the magazine covers back”. Will the fashion world swing back to using only fashion models in their campaign or will that be an ideal of the past? Only time will tell, but it will be interesting to see how this trend will continue to shape the ever-changing fashion industry.

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