The International Model Supply Chain

The POV documentary Girl Model (check local listings) explores the supply chain providing Siberian models to the Japanese fashion market. The global industry has long practiced self-regulation, so there is little official information on standards and practices for either region, and only recently has the U.S. fashion industry become proactive in finding ways to benchmark itself.

The Model

Where Models Come From...

Paris? Milan? London?

How about Tallinn, Reykjavik and Vilnius...

Top 10 Model-Producing Nations (Per Capita) »

1. Estonia, 2. Iceland, 3. Lithuania, 4. Denmark, 5. Latvia, 6. Sweden, 7. Netherlands, 8. Slovakia, 9. Norway, 10. Czech Republic

Top 10 Model-Producing Nations (Overall)

1. USA, 2. Brazil, 3. Russia, 4. UK, 5. Netherlands, 6. Canada, 7. Germany, 8. Poland, 9. Australia, 10. France

...And What They Look Like

The Ideal Model?

Model Composite

Height
Weight
Measurements
Hair
Eyes
Skin

5'11"
117 Pounds
34-24-34
Dark Blonde
Blue
Fair

This isn't a real model, but it could be. It's a composite of model.com's top-ranked models.

 

Do You Think I'm Sexy? »

Cover model Thairine Garcia was 14 when this image appeared in the February 2012 issue of Harper's Bazaar Brasil.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America recommends only using models older than 16, but designers continue to employ underage models.

Thairine Garcia
 

Brazil: A Diverse Source of Models?

Rio Grande do Sul

Rio Grande do Sul represents 5% of Brazil's population but it's the home of more than 50% of its models (including Gisele Bündchen). The appeal of the region's inhabitants is attributed to the historical migration of Germans and Italians.

 

Modeling as a Career

16

Age by which most working models have started their career

5 years

The length of the average modeling career

$32,929

The median salary of a "Model," putting the profession ahead of "Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors" but below "Secretaries" and "Flight Attendants" in annual income

70%

The percentage of "new faces" selected for each new runway show

1,400

The total number of modeling jobs in 2010, according to the Department of Labor

The Agent & The Agency

Who Does What?

  The Scout The Agent

Works for...

The modeling agency

The production company

Duties

Presents model portfolios to bookers and agents

Negotiates payment for bookings with the client or modeling agency

Schedules castings (cattle calls and requests)

Screens models based on a client's breakdown

Payment

A percentage of the modeling agency's commission

10%-20% commission on models' earnings



 
Model Debt

$10,000

 

The amount of debt a foreign model might accrue due to agencies paying for visas, flights, accomodations and tests — before the model goes on a first casting call.

The Production Team & The Client

The "Industry"

 
Fashion Industry
 

Photographers, art directors, stylists, editors and many others form the bulk of an industry that serves clients while attempting to carve out its own creative space.

NYC's Fashion Industry

165,000

Number of people employed

$9 billion

Total wages per year

$55 billion

Revenue generated per year

$1.7 billion

Tax revenue per year

Which Client is Better?

Chinese Vogue Editorial Image

Editorial

$150

per day

jcpenny Commercial Image

Commercial

$2,500

per day

Models' earnings are often inversely related to the stature of the client. Less glamorous commercial jobs (such as jcpenney) can pay more than prestigious editorial jobs (such as Vogue).

The Consumer

How We Perceive Beauty

 
Average Woman

The average American woman

5'4"

140 lbs

 
 
Famous Models
 

1950s

Marilyn

Monroe
5'5"
37-23-36

1960s

Twiggy

 
5'6"
32-22-32

1970s

Iman

Abdulmajid
5'10"
34-28-38

1980s

Cindy

Crawford
5'9"
34-24-35

1990s

Kate

Moss
5'7"
33-23-35

2000s

Gisele

Bündchen
5'11"
34-25-35

2010s

Karlie

Kloss
5'11"
31-23-34

 
 


In 1982, the average model weighed 8% less than the average woman

 
Average Model

The average American model

5'11"

117 lbs

 


In 2012, the average model weighed 23% less than the average woman

 
 

68%

Percentage of U.S. women who believe the media sets an unrealistic standard of beauty.

73%

Precentage of U.S. women said curvier bodies are more appealing now than 10 years ago.

 

International Perceptions

Map of Brazil

2.5% of the models at Sao Paolo's 2008 Fashion Week were black, though 50.8% of Brazil's population is black or of mixed race.

Map of Japan

52% of Japan's women consider themselves to be overweight, but only 23% are.

Vogue Japan

Since 2008, only 3 of Vogue Japan's 71 covers have featured Japanese models.

 

 
Girl Model

Premieres Sunday, March 24, 2013, on PBS stations. Check local listings »
http://www.pbs.org/pov/girlmodel/

 
POV logo
 

Sources

The Fashion Model Directory. "Models." http://www.fashionmodeldirectory.com/models/
Barrionuevo, Alexei. "Off Runway, Brazilian Beauty Goes Beyond Blond." The New York Times. June 8, 2010.
Models.com. "Models.com's top ranked models." http://models.com/rankings/ui/Top50/
Garcia, Thairine. "14-Year-Old Model Is a Major Violation of Vogue's Age Pledge." Jezebel, 2012; "Thairine Garcia by Zee Nunes for Harper’s Bazaar Brasil February 2012." Fashnberry, February 16, 2012.
Mears, Ashley. "Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model." University of California Press, 2011.
Smolak , L. "National Eating Disorders Association/Next Door Neighbors Puppet Guide Book." 1996.
Favor, Lesli J. "Food As Foe: Nutrition and Eating Disorders." 2009. (Model Sizes: Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss)
Fashion Model Directory. "Iman Abdulmajid." (Model Sizes: Iman Abdulmajid)
IMG Models. "Gisele Bündchen." (Model Sizes: Gisele Bündchen)
IMG Models. "Karlie Kloss." (Model Sizes: Karlie Kloss)
Ciancio, Antonella. "Catwalk queens prepare for a less glamorous future." Reuters. February 28, 2012.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook." 2010. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/models.htm
Krupnick, Ellie. "CFDA Health Guidelines for Models Released, Focus on Age & Eating Disorders." Huffington Post. January 27, 2012.
The Model Alliance. "Child Models." http://modelalliance.org/child-models
New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Fashion." http://www.nycedc.com/industry/fashion
Lovett, Edward. "Most Models Meet Criteria for Anorexia, Size 6 Is Plus Size: Magazine." ABC News January 12, 2012.
Zernike, Kate. "Sizing Up America: Signs of Expansion From Head to Toe." The New York Times. March 1, 2004
Dove. "Self Esteem Toolkit and Resources." http://www.dove.co.uk/en/Our-Mission/Self-Esteem-Toolkit-and-Resources/default.aspx
Caporimo, Alison. "What's Beautiful Now: The Allure American Beauty Survey." Allure. 2011.
Dr. Etcoff, Nancy. "The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report." September 2004.
Phillips, Tom. "Brazil's catwalks are too white, say protesters." The Guardian. June 16, 2011.
Models.com. "Vogue Japan." http://models.com/client/vogue-nippon-japan

 

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