In recent years, the fashion industry has grown leaps and bound to become more inclusive and accepting of visible minorities and gender nonconforming individuals. This has led to an insurgency against what is seen as normal and acceptable within the industry. It’s especially evident within the modeling industry. It seems that the rise in cultural, racial, and sexual acceptance has encouraged countless casting agents and modeling agencies to branch off and create boutique agencies that cater to specific subcultures, races, and peoples. This has made it easier for designers to find alternative models who fit perfectly into their campaigns and runway shows.
Like many things fueled by social trends, countless agencies are now popping up with claims on being unique enterprises geared to providing the fashion industry with alternative models who are worth talking about. However, the majority of such agencies being introduced as alternative boutique modeling agencies are merely ploys designed to get as much hype and social media attention as possible. Their main focus is not to encourage change and originality.
Despite that, there have been a few that have risen to the occasion to help redefine what a modeling agency can be. They’ve changed the tides and have truly contributed to the shifts seen in the modeling industry in recent years. Here are four agencies that have completely revolutionized the modern modeling agency.
Los Angeles-based modeling agency SLAY has quickly become a front-runner within the world of anti-modeling agencies. Their uniqueness can be accredited to their exclusive representation of transgender models in LA. Unlike traditional modeling agencies, SLAY aims to provide a safe space where transgender models can grow and become successful in today’s cutthroat modeling industry. With such a distinctive call to action, some may speculate that SLAY’s main goal is to nurture their models to become as feminine or “passing” as possible.
SLAY specifically states that their aim is not to quantify the model’s gender. Rather, the agency’s aim is to help each model become the best possible model they can be. Apart from their groundbreaking work for transgender individuals within the modeling industry, SLAY has also introduced the beauty and uniqueness of trans models to the global stage by being the star agency in new reality TV show, Strut, which aims to shed light on what it means and feels like to be a transgender model in a world that is slowly coming to understand and accept transpeople.
Tomorrow Is Another Day
Tomorrow Is Another Day or TIAD for short, is a boutique agency that started in 2010. TIAD, which focuses on discovering new talent on the streets of the world’s major cities, has become one of the leading representers of in-demand male talent within the fashion industry. But don’t expect your typical run of the mill muscle head to grace the agency’s model lineup. TIAD instead showcases models who are far more delicate looking than one would come to expect from a traditional men’s agency.
However, delicate does not mean what it used to in today’s fashion world. The models at TIAD represent a growing trend within the fashion industry to prefer softer, lankier, and skinnier men to walk runway shows as opposed to the traditional muscular models. This is where TIAD’s appeal lies. Although some of the biggest names in the male modeling are represented by more traditional agencies, TIAD represents a wide range of the freshest and most in demand faces the fashion industry has to offer.
As the name suggests, Anti-Agency was the agency that started it all. Having a vast repertoire of models that don’t fit the bill, Anti-Agency prides itself on representing models who have aspirations aside from modeling. DJs, artists, writers, and future fashion industry heavyweights are available in Anti’s extensive roster. Apart from interesting career goals, Anti-Agency specifically looks for models who have unique and interesting personalities. The agency’s goal is to provide the fashion industry with as much free thinking and lively individuals as possible. On top of all of that, the biggest differentiator that brought Anti-Agency into the spotlight is their appreciation for what’s inside. Rather than retaining strict height, weight, and measurement rules, Anti focuses their efforts on finding models who not only have interesting personalities but interesting bodies and personal styles as well.
IMG Models is most likely the most recognizable name on this list for its illustrious history in the fashion industry, but IMG has now become far better known for changing the modeling game within a short period of time. What was once the agency of fashion heavyweights like Kate Moss, Anja Rubik, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Gisele Bündchen, has now become the shining beacon of hope for Instagram models worldwide. IMG has catapulted the world’s obsession with Instagram famous models by launching and nurturing the careers of models like Gigi Hadid, Hayley Baldwin, and Cameron Dallas. This led the industry to turn to models who boast impressive number of followers on social media from street or casting call scouted models.
The rise in social media models’ popularity also adds a strategic edge to a fashion house’s runway show or ad campaign. With hundreds of thousands and even millions of followers, Instagram models and social media models are able to create a massive amount of exposure for a brand, as the models’ fans and followers tune in to see what they’re doing and who they’re associated with.
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