Runway or Print? Modelling Advice from EL Irving

I often hear people labelling themselves as a model or saying they hope to break into the modelling industry. But that can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. There are so many types of modelling and they are all very different from one and other. Keeping that in mind we know that the two of the main areas of modelling are fashion and commercial.

Do you have dreams of making it in modelling? If so, you need to determine whether you want to be a fashion model or a commercial model as soon as possible. Both types of models will feature in national campaigns and such, but they will do so in very different ways. Your decision to either go down the fashion route or the commercial route will determine a lot of other aspects of your career – ranging from how you brand yourself to the modelling agency you elect to sign for. The market body requirements can vary for each industry as well, and thus it is important to know what type of modelling you would be best suited for so you can give yourself the greatest chance of making it. If you need advice, get in touch via the EL Irving website or look at the contact me section of this site.

EL Irving london talent agent
EL Irving, 2015

Models are featured in local print advertisements, national print advertisements, television work, catalogues and trade shows. As a commercial model, it is unlikely you will receive the same level of exposure and recognition as you would if you were a fashion model. Yet work can be more frequent, as this type of modelling often presents greater opportunities, and a lot of fashion models begin their career in the commercial industry whilst hoping to get their big break. They aspire to walk down the runway at major fashion shows. Saying this, print work can be very lucrative and you can generate a steady income from featuring in catalogues as well. So, what path should you go down? Embrace both if you can. No one said you can’t be a fashion model and a commercial model. As mentioned, a lot of fashion models begin their career in the commercial world. Nonetheless, if you do not meet the strict criterion in place for fashion modelling, you may be restricted to commercial modelling. It is pivotal to recognise this, as you could be wasting your time chasing runway jobs when there are plenty of other print and ad work opportunities available to you that you would have a much greater chance of getting. It is all about grabbing the opportunities and generating greater exposure, no matter what type of modelling you want to get into.

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Why did we go Vintage?

Why are you going to collect vintage clothing? Is it out of a general fashion interest or do you want to create a collection as an investment? Choosing an icon from the past whose look you like will help you to choose the right pieces for your own collection. If you are buying to wear you can be less picky, whereas investment items should be carefully chosen for their brand or quality. If you’re going to collect for value and not wear what you buy, then size makes difference. When reselling the pieces keep in mind that sizing on labels has changed a lot. It’s especially significant if you sell vintage clothing on the internet because it avoids disappointment when the shoes or dress turn out to be too small for the customer and you have to refund them.

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EL Irving, 2015

Finding a fashion icon, especially from the past, will help you choose an outfit that draws attention and has the feeling of another era. Unfortunately, many of us think that only women in their forties or fifties are allowed to take these kinds of fashion risks. But if you are 20 years old it’s great and there’s nothing to be ashamed of; you’ll even find yourself attracting different attention and standing out among your peer group. Just find a fashion role model who can give you inspiration for ways to dress and get started creating a genuine vintage look. Collecting vintage clothing has become very popular. Some women like the quality and look of it and some collect it because of its potential value. There are numerous relatively recent items that are labelled as vintage and it’s hard to know what to purchase; the word itself has become synonymous with a look, rather than its definition.

Before buying vintage clothing learn about manufacturing and particularly when certain features were introduced. For instance, you are looking at what is labelled as a 60’s dress. Does it have features that weren’t common at that time? If yes, this indicates that it’s been incorrectly labelled and may be more likely from the 70’s. You can ask most modelling agencies for advice when it comes to fashion purchases. EL Irving Studios have loads of resources and don’t charge for advice. When shopping, you will inevitably encounter unworn or slightly worn items that have been well cared for. It might have been that the piece was only worn a handful of times, or stored for decades. Saying this it’s widely expected that vintage clothing will show the signs of wear due to its age. Remember, the longer ago the clothing is from, the more likely that it’ll display signs of its age. Aging can actually be used to validate its authenticity, so it’s not always a bad thing at all. Read the other EL Irving Blogs for fashion reviews and modelling advice!

Fashion and Trends

Fashion trends have to start from somewhere and many people don’t consider where they start. We happily walk into a high street retailer or find designs on the web and either instantly love them or hate them with little to no regard for the amount of time or effort that has gone into the creation of that particular item of clothing or the look itself. Designers are more than ever under pressure to create garments that the public at large will love and that will look great on models. They try to make it from their sketchbooks and onto the catwalks just as models try to make it from their mirror to the studio and some are always going to be more successful than others.


If you’re keen to get into modelling then it’s important to remember physical requirements when it comes to fitting yourself into a niche – most types of modelling are niches unto themselves. The physical requirements of commercial models are less extreme than those of catwalk models for example. While catwalk models tend to have very thin and slender body shapes, commercial models need represent society’s norms. EL Irving Studios regularly see men and women having body parts modelling portfolios made. Body parts models are widely used for catalogue jobs. These can include footwear, jewellery, beauty products and piercings. Making a living solely from these kinds of jobs is very difficult, but it’s not too difficult to supplement a salary with a few extra days a month in front of the camera.

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EL Irving, 2014

One incredible thing about women is that they are known to have a sixth sense, especially when it concerns relationships. Women always notice and analyse small details in others. This goes as far as to include the body language of their partners. So they usually are aware of any feelings towards others that their partners have. It may be concerning a colleague of his that they have never met. Once women notice something suspicious, it starts eating away at them. Though they may not be even aware of what exactly is doing it. A great way to clear the air is to spice things up. Maybe some great photos in a professional studio would help or a spending spree in your favourite shops. If you’re interested in becoming a model or are simply looking for new or additional representation, feel free to get in touch with me and the EL Irving team and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.

 

How to get Scouted as a Model

Many people ask me this question. I always have the same answer. When it comes to modelling and you are competing against countless other, equally talented people, you have to really make yourself stand out from the rest. Modelling scouts are constantly on the look out for models who really push themselves to be different. The video below is an excerpt from an interview with a modelling scout who briefly summarizes the main things you should be considering as a model looking for reputable, regular work.

The key points I emphasize to models are as follows.

  • Firstly, find yourself. Build your character and your interests as these are equally as important as your look.
  • Secondly, practice your trade. Learn how to act with industry professionals and more importantly, how not to act. Don’t be a diva until you’ve earned it.
  • Spend as much time as possible with reputable agents, scouts and agencies and get a sense of the modelling environment to enable you to make the best decisions for your career.

EL Irving is one of London’s most reputable talent and modelling scouts. Find out more about EL Irving by following these links.