The biggest challenge models are facing in the industry today? How about their children, writes Katie O’Brien on the prevalence of the ‘nepo-baby.’
Clothing and other items have always been showcased on or by models, whether that be on television, catalogues, magazines or runways. But what made the 90’s such a special time to be a model, and why has the modelling industry changed so much since then?
When we think of supermodels, most tend to reflect on the 80s and the 90s and think of names like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, but what made these models any different than famous models of the past? The 90s saw the birth of models becoming celebrities in their own right, not just famous for wearing clothes or being girlfriends of musicians or actors, but instead becoming famous personalities who gave interviews and posed for more photos off of the runway than on. People were obsessed with knowing these women and thus the cult of the 90s supermodel was born. The media went crazy to see what they were wearing at all times, whether that be going to the shops or the airport. Many sought to emulate their model-off-duty looks constantly.
The famous line up of the supermodels was unofficially announced in the 1990 cover of British Vogue by Peter Lindbergh, which had a black and white image of five women; Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Tatijana Patitz. This was the first unofficial line-up that would change and shift but this cover was the birth of a new form of celebrity. This cover was meant to give a new definition of model; sure, these five women are gorgeous, but there was no retouching, and all are seen smiling and wearing relaxed clothing, giving this whole new world of modelling a more approachable sense to the everyday viewer and reader. In the past, especially the late 60s and early 70s, you also had models who transcended from the runway and became personalities like Twiggy. The 90s however saw nearly each and every model become more of a person, and less of a clothing hanger. These women were celebrated for their personalities and individuality.
The famous line up of the supermodels was unofficially announced in the 1990 cover of British Vogue by Peter Lindbergh which had a black and white image of five women; Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Tatijana Patitz.
This new category of celebrity then blurred the lines on the runway with many classic celebrities beginning to grace catwalks and fashion magazines, like Renee Zellweger being the first actress to appear on the 1998 cover of Vogue. The lines being blurred like this meant traditional models found it harder to make it onto the scene since the scene had become crowded with celebrities. Soon designers grew weary of models and celebrities gaining more traction than their designs and the cocky nature and attitudes of supermodels soon seemed to turn the fashion world against them. It became less about design and art and more about fame and money, which many designers wished not for their models but rather their designs. Supermodels had more of a hold on the fashion world than editors and houses did, meaning the salacious articles being published about their private lives began to become less illusive and more irritating. Thus the decline of supermodels like “the Big 6” began and more individual models began making their way.
This all being said, the modelling industry appears to be very different today, especially in the manner in which new models are making their way onto the scene. Gone are the days of the likes of Kate Moss getting spotted at 14 in JFK airport and in are the days of nepotism. Not that nepotism was not always present in the fashion world, but it seems more prevalent these days.
Modelling is an art form in its own way. Models have a craft to learn and perfect and are acting as living canvases to living art. Models and designers take this art form seriously and the over-pollution of celebrities can be seen to be diluting the impact of their art.
When we think of big named models these days, we imagine Bella and Gigi Hadid as well as Kendall Jenner - all of whom have been named as the industry’s highest paid models. But did they earn their way onto the runway or was it gifted? People tend to remember Kendall Jenner having no interest in runway work when she appeared on her family’s reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians. Now she seems to appear on every runway and at every fashion week, so are designers making a return to famous personalities modelling their designs? 90s supermodels also had their own children and they have now begun to make an appearance on the runway, such as Kate Moss’s daughter Lila Moss and Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber. Do these models have more of a right to be where they are, or are they there due to name recognition alone? Regular models who would have gone through the rigorous casting processes are losing out to familiar names in the fashion industry. While it sounds trivial, modelling is an art form in its own way. Models have a craft to learn and perfect and are acting as living canvases to living art. Models and designers take this art form seriously and the over-pollution of celebrities can be seen to be diluting the impact of their art.
But isn’t all publicity good publicity?
Do these models have more of a right to be where they are or again are they only there due to name recognition alone? Regular models who would have gone through the rigorous casting processes are losing out to familiar names in the fashion industry.
The fashion world is a world of constant change but one constant in the world of art, media and entertainment is nepotism. That being said, certain models have seemed to overcome this label and actually improve their craft and become good models. Bella Hadid has seemingly shrugged off the blanket of her mother and fathers’ wealth and become a reputable artist in her craft. Unimportant as this all may seem, the fashion world is a world desired by the many who dream of entering it one day. Flagrant nepotism like this can make people feel that their work is not good enough as they lack the name and wealth to fall back on, when needs be.
The creative industry, for people not born into it, is a daunting one, full of possible failure, so should the fashion industry be showcasing a more “self-made” approach or do we all secretly enjoy getting a glimpse at the lifestyles of the historically rich and famous?