The Fashion Industry's Modeling Mystery

Why Does Everyone Want to be a Model?

The fashion industry's model mystery is becoming HISTORY. Adiós to the seasoned pros, and hello to a constant slew of fresh faces. Every moment I focus my eyes, unplug my ears and zip my lips, I recognize the flood of anxious faces; I sense their piercing thirst; and I resist the urge to comment on their eagerness to enter the fashion industry expecting to become the next top fiercest "this person," or "that person's" biggest, baddest -- yes you've guessed it --- MODEL.

The overpopulation of models in our second decade of the 21st century would have been unimaginable to the fashion industry during the '60s, '70s, '80s, and even the '90s of the 20th century. In the earlier years, professional fashion models (especially those of color) were a rarity, and regulation was ruled by a recognizable system of reverence and respect. Now there is an overflow of Naomi Campbells and Kate Mosses with EVERYBODY seemingly motivated by no less than reality TV and ubiquitous smartphone apps for social media.

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With the rise in reality TV shows such as Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model and social media platforms such as Instagram adding the most fuel to the fire, the fashion industry is barfing bitterness at the excess of anxious, self-taught hopefuls flooding the market. What our beloved model wannabes haven't taught themselves is that there is far more to becoming a reputable model than being the cutest in your school, mauling a photographer to snap you in your favorite #OOTD (outfits of the day) and entangling yourself in an endless surge of social media hype; these aren't even close to the basics. Modeling is known as an art, a craft -- a craft where the model is comparable to pure clay, or even children's Play-Doh. Comparable to clay, a model's inner beauty should be molded, developed and preserved, in order to showcase natural attributes and qualities rather than drowning his/her beloved followers with selfie's, shameless self-promotion, and hashtags as high as heaven. But that's not what our "20k-follower" page owners want to hear -- no!

Excitingly, there's been an overall boost to the fashion industry with shows like Lifetime's Project Runwayinspiring every needle and threading knitter to be the next Ralph Lauren or Alexander McQueen. Thank the Lord! This means an increase in runway jobs, showroom gigs, print ads and advertising campaigns -- Hallelujah! (Turns out not every fashion-related reality TV show is a detriment to the industry, after all.) But, is it enough to sustain and bring a balance to our industry? And you would think, wouldn't our industry want more objects of color, beauty and distinction piercing its dark, bumbling world? Yes, I do, but if there aren't an equivalent amount of "professional" outlets for us to succeed, it simply compares to an unemployment rate.

Edward Enninful, British fashion stylist and current fashion and style director of W Magazine, recently launched an Instagram modeling contest, promising some lucky winner an official shoot for W Magazine. "I'm looking to discover a new-face model on Instagram", Enninful declared using his Instagram page (@edward_enninful), pounding in over 25,000 entries with his special hashtag #EdwinEnninfulScouts. It made me wonder, has the fashion world begun to decline against its own will, forced to embrace the new schemes of these social and digital platforms? Or are they merely outsourcing the casting process to a budding new generation of time-saving technology?

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