Fashion Modeling Vs. Commercial Modeling

You will often hear people label themselves as a ‘model’ or saying they hope to break into the ‘modeling industry’. But that can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. There are so many types of modeling and they are all very different from one and other. One woman may state she is a model and spend her days strutting down catwalks in everywhere from Milan to New York, whilst another woman may state she is a model and feature in the pages of Zoo, FHM and Nuts. Keeping that in mind, in this post we will take a look at two of the main areas of modeling – fashion and commercial.

fashion modeling, commercial modeling

Do you have dreams of making it as a model? 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 like, 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 modeling agency in London 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 modeling you would be best suited for so you can give yourself the greatest chance of making it. So, let’s take a look at both industries in further detail…

Fashion Modeling

First and foremost, let’s begin with fashion modeling. Fashion models are also referred to as editorial models and work primarily on the runway. They will showcase new designer lines at international and national fashion shows. Most fashion models are based in the international fashion capitals of the world, such as New York, London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. This presents them with the best opportunities. Some of the most well-known fashion models in the world at present include the likes of Cara Delevingne, Andreea Diaconu, Lara Stone, Sam Rollinson, Erin O’Connor, Jourdan Dunn, Natalia Vodianova, Liu Wen, and of course Kate Moss.

This type of modeling is defined by the strict criterion that is in place. Most modeling agencies look for women that are around 6ft tall and aged between 15 and 25 years old. It’s highly unlikely you will make it as a fashion model if you are less than 5ft 8 inches tall unless you are the next Kate Moss! The desired weight is anything from 90 to 120 pounds, depending on the height of the person. Nowadays in order to make it in the world of fashion modeling, you have to have a fresh and interesting look rather than being classically beautiful. This does not mean you should go and cover yourself in piercings and tattoos! Women with tattoos, piercings, stretch marks, tans and scars are often considered too difficult for agencies to work with. Stay away from tanning beds and avoid a trip to the tattoo parlor!

Let’s take a look at some of the jobs you will be doing to get a better idea…

• Fashion Shows

• Magazine Editorials

• Showroom Modeling – This relates to private fashion shows for private clients or buyers.

• Fit Modeling – This is when your body is used by a manufacturing company or designer in order to check the fit and draping of clothing.

If you want to make it as a fashion model you really do have to be flexible. You have to be dedicated and willing to centre your whole life on making it in this industry. Once you start to get your foot on the ladder you will often be asked to relocate to the city your agency is based in. You will also have to work unconventional schedules and you will need to travel on a regular basis. Learning how to handle criticism and rejection is imperative. Even the best models in the world get rejected because they don’t suit the feel of a campaign. Learning how to take the word ‘no’ can often be the key to making it in this industry.

Commercial Modeling

So, now you know a bit about fashion modeling, let’s take a look at commercial modeling. These models are featured in local print advertisements, national print advertisements, television work, catalogs and trade shows. For example, you may model a custom all over print shirt for a billboard to advertise a brand, whether the brand is in the fashion sector or not. 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 modeling often presents greater opportunities, and a lot of fashion models begin their career in the commercial industry whilst hoping to get their big break.

One of the benefits associated with commercial modeling is the fact that this can be a long-term career. The same cannot be said for fashion modeling; whereby a lot of modeling agencies do not accept anyone over the age of 25 years old. However, when it comes to commercial modeling you can get work no matter whether you are 26 years old or 60 years old. Products, services and such like are catered to different target consumer groups; which is why age does not matter anywhere near as much when it comes to commercial modeling.

This industry is also a lot less strict when it comes to overall look and body type. There are no set height restrictions or body types in place, and women with more of a generic look will find a good degree of work in the commercial industry. Nonetheless, you do need to have the ability to act and an outgoing personality is important as well. This is because you will often be required to play different roles depending on the advertisements you are placed in and thus you need to have the ability to convey these roles effectively.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of both types of modeling. Fashion modeling is often what most models aspire to. They want to walk down the runway at major fashion shows and such like. Yet, the truth is, commercial modeling is much more versatile and there are a lot more opportunities. You are also likely to make a lot more money as well. Runway shows don’t tend to pay great amounts unless they are big events for major designers. However, you can make a decent income from commercial modeling. Print work can be very lucrative and you can generate a steady income from featuring in catalogs 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 modeling; you may be restricted to commercial modeling. It is pivotal to recognize 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 modeling you want to get into.


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