Definition of a model

A model is someone who presents a product, whether this is clothes, makeup or lawnmowers, to increase their marketability and make the products attractive to consumers. Some would describe models as actors, as they have to convey a certain emotion in the photographs or catwalk show they are used in. Models can be divided into several sub-categories, including fashion models, glamour models, swimwear models, fine art models, fitness models, and body-part models. Each type of modelling requires a different characteristics and traits in a model. The most successful type of model is called a supermodel, but only a handful of models will ever get to this stage. Most models will have to be content with appearing on magazine covers if they’re lucky, on catwalks and on billboards.

For those models who are fashion models, there are two types of modelling they may do; commercial and high fashion (haute couture). Models in commerical modelling are required to make a product appealing to a wide consumer market, and make them want to buy it. High fashion modelling is for clothes that are not intended to be marketed on a widescale, if at all, but is more of an art form, in which the photographer poses and creates highly stylised images for either fashion magazines or to appeal to fashion buyers. The model’s job is to create the image the photographer desires, and to convey the appropriate tone of the piece. High fashion is usually highly unusual and unconventional, and places different modelling demands on a model than modelling commercial fashion does.

Within the different genres of modelling, there are also three different facets of modelling you can do. Live models present clothes on the catwalk at fashion shows. They may also be asked to saunter around at fashion exhibitions, to model the clothes. Some live models are also used in promotion campaigns for products such as homeware and cars at launches and shows. Photographic models are photographed in the studio or on location for magazines, newspapers, mail order catalogues, advertising campaigns and TV advertisements. They hold poses and facial expressions following a photographer and stylist’s directions. Some specialise in modelling a particular feature, such as hands, feet or legs. Fashion house models, also known as in-house models, are used as by designers as real-life models they can fit fabric and clothes to, in order to see how they fall, and the overall fit and look. They are also used to model the designer’s clothes to fashion buyers, fashion journalists and clients.

Another type of model is the plus-size model, one that is increasingly becoming more popular due to calls for more authentic size representation in the media. A plus-size model will typically be a UK size 14 or above, although some are smaller. Although plus-size models will not be used for high-fashion modelling, they may be used for magazine or catalogue work when a slightly larger model is required. Whatever your size or shape if you don’t have the right ‘look’ for a job a model will not get work.