Social media has been in the works for years now. However, in the past few years we have seen the rise of instagram to new extremes, and people are taking advantage of the situation. It seems that people are making careers through these forms of social media. And models are no exception. Young models such as Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, and Gigi Hadid have quickly risen in fame to represent multiple brands and take over the fashion world do to of their social media presence. Does this mean that instagram is the new Page Six? And where shall this growing social media platform take us and the modeling world in the future.
Models in the 90s seemed to reach fame at a much slower rate. They were in the industry for years before getting picked up by large brands and reaching Super Model status. Yes, the internet makes the whole world smaller, but it is more than that. Page six use to be a way of knowing if someone has “made it.” By being on Page Six, the models had received the verification that they were important to the fashion community and society. Though Page Six may not be the most reputable source, it was a way to get your name out there and your presence known. Today it seems that reaching a million instagram followers is like gracing Page Six.
Though, instagram has yet to become the most popular form of media, it is clear that it is among models. This quickly growing form of social media allows for people to scroll through mindlessly at a greater level than both facebook and twitter. Though it may not have as many active users a month, we are watching it quickly grow and seeing it strongly affect many models careers. Helping them catapult into the Supermodel-dom at a faster speed than they ever expected.
This year, the fashion world has been talking about the social media presence of models, most specifically on instagram. It all seemed to have started with Cara Delevingne. The British socialite turned model, took the fashion work by storm, not only because of her thick eyebrows, but also because of her social media presence. Over the past year, as Delevingne’s popularity has been on the rise, the fashion world has seen the reintroduction of the need for thick eyebrows for the first time since Brooke Shields. Hosting over 10.3 million followers, Delevingne is the frontrunner when is comes to the social media revolution that is quickly taking over the modeling world. However, this trend was not formed because of an actress or designer, rather it was created by a model.
Delevigne quickly became one of the most followed people on instagram and twitter. With the popularity of Delevigne on instagram, many other models seemed to follow. This year, Forbes wrote an article, “Top Models on Instagram 2014″ As expected, Delevingne came in as the number one model to follow.
The byline of Forbe’s article read, “In today’s modeling game, you’re only as good as how many followers you have on social media.” This was confirmed when both Cara Delevigne and Kendall Jenner walked for all of Karl Lagerfeld’s shows this year, no matter their rookie standing. These “instagram models” have quickly taken over the runways and have been declared super models faster than anyone has been before. But their instagram presence does more than just make them supermodels and coveted by designers around the world, it also allows their followers to feel included in the journey. These models are allowing their followers to sit first row.
Forbes was not the only media outlet to declare the use of social media in the model culture changing the fashion industry. Rather, so did the top fashion magazine in the world, Vogue, when they declared today the “Insta Girl Generation.”
Vogue’s “Insta Girls” cover took the fashion world by storm. For it solidified that these social media using models are the top models in fashion society today. By Anna Wintour choosing to put these girls on the cover of Vogue, she was showing the fashion world that the future of fashion is going to be through social media.
The use of social media by models allows us (the average american follower) to see backstage. From posting at photo-shoots, posting magazine spreads early, to posting while getting ready to go onto the runway, social media has allowed us to have an insight into the life of a model. It has even allowed us to get a closer look at the designer. Thanks to Kendall Jenner and Delevingne, they took us backstage for the Chanel show and allowed us to see them working with none other than Karl Lagerfeld.
On March 30th, I talked with the owner of Ikon Models, Cynthia Saldana, to discuss how social media has changed the life of her models. Though no one represented by Ikon is seen on the covers of Vogue or walking for Karl Lagerfeld in Chanel, Ikon models hosts a large roster of girls who are extremely active on social media and see the affect of their social media presence in their careers. In fact, Saldana found evidence of her models social media presence just that day. “Today I worked on a Pepsi ad where many of my models were present. They (the models) find other models from Ikon and they take picture. They just start taking pictures and sending them to me, telling me to post them on social media, as well as them doing so themselves. It just goes around and around because they are proud. It is like a resume for them”
"Social media is an amazing free tool for anyone who wants to use." -Saldana
Saldana takes this idea of instagram being a sort of resume for her models even farther. “I know for one thing, one of the models I was talking to today is getting all these great test shoots. I asked her how she is getting all these great photographers and she said on instagram. That will change everything for her, she will get requested more for jobs and a strong card to leave behind.”
Instagram and twitter have now become our fastest way to hear about the gossip and trends that are emerging on the runway. These models whom Vogue has declared the “Insta girls” have began to dictate fashion week through what they give out to their millions of followers. With their social media use, the focus of magazines is now on the model itself, rather than who is sitting in the front row. Instead, the followers feel as if they are front row with these posts.
Gigi Hadid graced Adweek‘s April issue this year with the headline reading, “Millenial Models like Gigi Hadid, Fueled by Social, Are Hitting the Fashion Stratosphere.” This article discusses why instagram has been so important in many models careers. Adweek’s reasoning, “fan favor bold personalities, not just beauty.” Instagram does more than just show a pretty face, but it also shows the spunk that is behind that face. Social media allows for people to have a voice and put it out there. Therefore, people who follow models such as Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevigne, get to hear that specific voice. These models do not need to wait to be interviewed by news outlets for their fans to get to know their voice. Rather they can just post to their instagram. Saldana’s idea that instagram is like a “resume” for models is a way for models to show more than just photos, but their voice and following. A look book can only do so much, by showing the hiring agents that 10 million follow you on instagram, such as Cara Delevigne can, shows them that they are hiring someone with a strong following.
The voice each models expressed on instagram does more than just show an average day in their life. It also shows their quirkiness and some of the perks of being a model. The social media frontrunner of the model revolution, Cara Delevigne, seemed to show this to the extreme for us once again during 2014 Spring Fashion week. Rather than using social media backstage, Delevigne took social media onto the stage, rather onto the runway during the Guinea Pig Giles runway show.
With phone in hand, Delevigne walked the runway creating instagram videos that went live instantly. Rather, than reposting pictures and videos that were that were taken by others during the show, Delevigne took you onto the stage, taking the first runway, selfie video. Instead of followers seeing like it would be to be front row or backstage, they got to feel what it would be like to walk the runway, to physically be in place of the model.
Anna Wintour followed suit with this selfie generation. While Delevigne walked the runway with her phone in hand, Vogue gave Hadid and Jenner selfie sticks during a photo-shoot.
Social media is playing a larger part in fashion than just with preexisting models. Rather, Marc Jacobs have called upon social media to find the models for his spring 2015 advertisement campaign. Through this campaign, he used a combination of the popularity of social media in the fashion world today and the need to connect with this fan base to create his new campaign. Watch the below video to see who these social media winners are.
Marc Jacob’s decision to call on social media to find his models, as well as the examples of the extreme use of social media by models, it is clear the the future of fashion rests on social media. These models are becoming names in themselves, and their free posts on instagram can be free advertisement for companies. The idea of brand ambassadorship has been around for years, yet with these new “insta girls” it seems that the idea of brand ambassadorship is changing. You can no longer exist in the fashion world without social media. However, how will social media change with time. What will be see next? Models walking down the runway with selfie sticks and go pros attached to their head. Or rather, will be see the emergence of social media intertwined into clothing, allowing you to instagram directly from your clothing. Though we have seen many wearable electronics, there has yet to be a successful wearable social media piece. This step that Delevigne took, taking her phone onto her runway, may be a step towards the future combination of fashion and social media, taking it a step father where the two will become inseparable.
Zoolander and Anna Wintour are predicting it now. The selfie stick will be coming into the fashion world. No matter how much people make fun of it, it seems there is no getting rid of this contraption. Just watch this video where Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson talk to Anna Wintour about their walk all while looking into their phone on the selfie stick.
Ben Stiller’s Zoolander character took this even one step forward, not only taking a selfie video on the runway on his OWN phone, rather he stole someone else’s. The comedy Zoolander is a commentary on the fashion world. It is amusing because it emphasizes all that is wrong with being obsessed with one’s body image and turns it into a classic Ben Stiller comedy. However, when Anna Wintour and Vogue worked with the Zoolander cast to make their epic announcement during this years Milan Fashion Week, Stiller really showed what the future of the fashion world is going to be, selfies on selfies on selfies, all that are portrayed through social media. Rather than waiting to get the next issue of your favorite magazine, we are transported ON TO the runway. It is even better than the front row seats that are granted to fashion greats such as Wintour herself.
The video of the “model” Zoolander’s runway selfie was featured on more than just instagram. Rather this video showed the growing popularity of various social media outlets. Originally this video was posted on Snapchat, soon it was everywhere. From Vince to Youtube to Instagram, this video not only showed how important social media is to the life of the model, but also how fast it is growing and how important it is to connect your various social media outlets.
With the ever growing popularity of the selfie, it seems that the selfie will be taking over the future of fashion. Well, that is if the CFDA does not decide to follow the Great Wall of China and band the selfie stick. Though these models may be using selfie sticks while on vacation and hanging with their friends. Let us just hope they do not try and walk the runway with them. So Gigi and Kendall, I would recommend putting away those selfie sticks before you go behind the real camera, not that tiny thing on your camera phone. Let’s keep some things professional and keep the real photography to those with the big camera who are being paid by the publication.