Fashionable Age

 

Following every show season we begin to see the ratings of the Top 10 model favorites. Many lists are usually based on volume of shows or significant model/designer exclusives.

It is interesting that in the list from Style.com, 8 out of the 10 were 18 and older, and with the oldest being 24. This is a significant shift worth noting despite recent attacks that the industry only works with teenagers.

Michelle Pryor, the Director of Supreme Management, explained her insight, “The great and true benefit from where we sit is that this shift is allowing the young women we represent to enjoy all the good that comes from an education. True literacy, growth, knowledge, character development etc. is now easily achievable as it is not necessarily a race to find the youngest fit for a brand but rather the right fit for the brand’s aesthetic and marketing goals”.

605511d43326809eIn the Calvin Klein show, Maggie Maurer, walked for her first time and it was her first job. She is 25 years old, starting with Elmer Olsen Models, she then signed with IMG. Her manager, Lisa DiRuocco commented about Maggie, “I have to say all of the feedback I get on Maggie is she’s so interesting and so lovely.  I think starting out now as opposed to 16 the life experience she has gives her the confidence that most people just don’t have at a younger age.   She also has a whole different perspective on the business for example, when she is booked on looks she doesn’t say oh this is so long…and tiring…  She looks at the experience as an amazing process and how lucky she is to be part of it.”

Amanda Murphy from Illinois (IMG) is 24 years, and after an exclusive with Proenza Schouler and Prada, spent Paris walking for Chanel, Dior and Lanvin, and more. Drake Burnette from Texas is with DNA models and told WWD the details of starting her career at the age of 27.

When a young model is discovered during teenage years, the decisions and steps to take are decided with the parents. You would be surprised how many parents want to push their high school age daughters faster than is appropriate. Some agencies with strong development boards start them part time at this age. It is a long-term investment and a commitment from both sides to ride the ups and downs of the demands of a double life of a teenager, but it can be done.

In the U.S., in local markets, there is an old pattern to push an aspiring model before the age of 16 so you don’t “miss” your chance. I could not disagree more. You can take it one step at a time.

There are many examples of how this has worked, and as you can see from her biography on Models.com, Jacquelyn Jablonski, with Supreme Management, was first highlighted in 2007. She finished high school, played soccer throughout and modeled very part time, and this last season of F/W2013 she walked in Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana to name a few. jj

Working with a young woman who is available full time and is 100% focused on the demands of the industry almost always makes for greater long-term success. Let’s hope it is a trend that continues with campaigns. Prominent model veterans such as Amber Valletta and Stella Tennant have proven that you only get better with the more you know.