The John Robert Powers agency here in Chicago is one of the most successful in Illinois and it attracts some of the finest models in the state. This has been a labour of love for the owners of the agency and they have been here in Chicago for over 30 years. As you can imagine, during that time they have seen a huge change in the way that modeling works and in the last decade alone there has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards the industry. We were fortunate enough to catch up with the head honchos at the agency over a lunch in Chicago, to find out exactly why modeling has changed so much.
Modeling was once about the girls being as slim as possible and the guys showing as much muscle as they could, trends which have now changed a lot. Owing to pressure on the way that modeling and fashion agencies were presenting a false image of what girls and boys should look like, we now have a huge range of shapes and sizes in the world of modeling. Take plus sized models for example, these men and women are curvy and voluptuous and they are very successful because they represent the people that they are trying to sell products to. The modeling world has now reacted to society rather than trying to be the ones to dictate it.
Social media is now so powerful that many models don’t need an agency to represent them in order to find popularity. In many cases agencies will hire models based on the popularity that they have through their social media accounts. This comes down to people taking the power back from the fashion industry and letting people decide what they think is beautiful, rather than being told by the industry.
In the last modeling was for the high class stores and clothing brands, the runways were filled with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana or Tom Ford, and it was something which the average Joe public could never really associate with. These days however we have models showing off clothing and products from high street retailers and online vendors who sell items at the prices that many of the public are looking at. We still have the high class fashion labels doing their thing, but most models are working for the high street chains which the public love. We have seen this in recent years with supermodels working for companies like H & M and even Primark.
Much more focus has been placed on the health of the models and for many years this was something which was very dangerous. Because of the certain ‘look’ that many companies wanted, models would live unhealthy lifestyles in order to get the figure that the company were looking for. These days models have a far better approach to this and they are now healthier than ever before.