Money, celebrity and race: The modeling industry laid bare
The modeling industry is never too far from controversy. Whether it's the rise (or rejection) of 'plus size', increasing frustrations at a pervasive lack of diversity or eternal fears over health and weight, there has been much to talk about in recent years.
Models themselves are now arguably more vocal than ever through social media, and industry bodies have been making decisive moves in various areas of concern. But what about those behind the scenes?
The, often silent but powerful, casting directors, bookers and agents whose job it is to find the next big thing and who deal directly with the men and women whose images we become so familiar with.
We spoke to a few of the industry's most prominent figures to find out how issues of diversity, technology, new guidelines and demand are affecting their business.At the end of last season a report was compiled by the fashion spot dissecting racial diversity on the runways. Over New York, London, Paris and Milan 77.6% of the time models on the runway were white. New York was the frontrunner for diversity, then London, Paris and Milan.
Angus Munro is the co-founder of prestigious New York-based agency AM casting.Their portfolio includes covers for i-D and Dazed & Confused, campaigns for the likes of Dior and Kenzo, and casting for Rick Owens and Kanye West's fashion shows. He echoes the statistics: "Without question the issue of diversity is at the forefront of our challenges. The fact that there is an issue at all is unfathomably disgraceful. However steps forward are being made."
In London Sarah Bunter, a casting director who works with the likes of Matthew Miller, Peter Jensen and Kenzo through her company Bunter Casting, has lost out on work because of her stance on diversity: "There have been a few instances! One of which resulted in being taken off a job immediately for attempting to discuss the subject."
But it seems times may be changing. Statistically, diversity on the runways is marginally improving each season. Carole White, former model and co-founder of Premier Model Management -- which helped launch the careers of Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista -- concurs: "I do think the industry is embracing different races much more and you can see sizes changing too. When I first started in this business, a 34B was the biggest chest size (if you were a C cup it was kept quiet). Nowadays we are being asked for DD quite often, so boobs are in for certain elements of the market place."
So what does the future hold for the industry? We asked our experts...
Angus Munro: "I'm generally positive for sure... I would love to see some loyalty to the good models that are out there and less desperation for new, new, new all the time.
Sarah Bunter: "My hope is that consumers realize that they also have the power - so if you don't like what a brand are doing or the image they are portraying, don't buy from them. Fashion shouldn't always be cheap and it shouldn't always be fast."
Carole White: "Everything is so quick and fast paced now the world is greedy for the next thing. I wonder what it will be."