Sunday, 25 December 2011 02:57

The Changing World of Fashion...

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There are two guaranteed things that will happen in life, one is sadly we will all die and two is change and I am sure that you would agree with me that the fashion industry is always changing. From the very simple things of new fashion trends coming through each year to new designers, models and creatives joining the fashion industry. When you read the barrage of fashion magazines that come out each week it is so hard to keep up with what they state are the latest trends and new people coming onto the scene. I personally don't follow fashion trends because unless you are extremely rich and can afford to remain fashion savvy it is very easy to try and follow trends and by doing so it is very easy to become very poor.

One of the interesting changes that is taking place within the fashion industry is the rise and rise of African fashion as well as African fashion designers, not just new and established designers that are beginning to make a name for themselves on the international fashion scene but also the fact that mainstream designers and brands have taken an active interest in African fashion. Designers and brands such as Burberry, Gucci, YSL, Aldo, Lamb by Gwen Stephani over the last couple of seasons have been incorporating African materials into their designs. So I guess that it is fair to say that African fashion is back in fashion, how times have changed. It it must be said that this is relevant purely because of the designers that are paving the way for African fashion, the likes of Deola Sagoe, Tiffany Amber, Ituen Bassey, Stone Cherrie have become international designer superstars and I think it is fair to say that they have helped influence the growing trend towards African fashion being so popular.

African fashion has developed leaps and bounds with some great international African shows taking place each year such as Fashions Finest London Fashion Week Shows, Africa Fashion Week (South Africa, New York & London) and Arise Fashion Week that takes place in New York and Lagos each year. It is shows like this that have helped take African designers and fashion to another level and place it before the eyes of the world. It is my prediction that this is just the tip of the iceberg and mark my words "you ain't seen nothing yet"

Size 6 Supermodels - Does African Fashion Need to Mimic the West?

No No No - African women generally have different body shapes, by default Africa women are far more curvy and more fuller figured. Before people start saying that not every African woman is curvy or fuller figured, I am speaking in generic terms. As a man that works within the fashion industry and with all types of women from all types of ethnic backgrounds, I get to see women of all shapes and sizes so I feel I am a bit of an expert on this subject.

For many years the West has not accepted black models onto the catwalks or in magazines in any significant numbers to make us feel that we are an active part of the fashion industry and when they do want to use us, we must conform to the West standards of what they perceive as beauty which currently seems to be stick thin models with bones hanging out that you could hang your coat on. Sorry but this is not for me, give me a curvy black model that has a bit of hips so that when she graces the catwalk the dress flows as she walks but not remain motionless as the model has no body to make it move.

I am continuously told that Western designers don't like to use black models because they are too curvy or there walk is too sexy. I remember speaking to a black model recently who was with a big mainstream agency and she was lamenting over the fact that despite the fact that she met industry standard measurements in terms of her statistics 34 – 24 – 34, she was not getting jobs simply because she had more backside than hips as her 34 inch hips went backwards rather than side wards and for this simple reason designers would not use her for shows.

As a people and I am glad to say it is happening, we must not rely on the West to make our women supermodels but we must do it ourselves. A little fact to note – if you put the populations of the United States and Europe together it comes to a total of about 850 million odd people but the entire population of Africa is about one billion odd people. Doing the maths it is easy to see that African supermodels do not need the West to make them superstars and they can earn as much if not far more money than they would ever earn working in New York or London.

The power within the fashion industry does not lie with black people so we can only do the jobs that we are given and they select the type of models that they wish to use. However the interesting thing is that every day Western women seem to want to develop the black woman type of figure as some women are undergoing operations to have a shapely African looking backside, I even hear that you can buy padded underwear so you can have a fake looking bigger, shapely backside, they are also injecting things into their lips to have bigger and fuller lips, so some women want to look like us but we are not good enough to grace their catwalks and magazines.

It is great to get requests from African designers requesting curvy fuller figure models when I am asked to produce their shows for them, this makes me so happy and it's good to know that they are ignoring the West's ideals of beauty.

My Daughter wants to be a Supermodel? Steps to becoming a healthy minded Model.

Firstly models need to understand that this a very hard industry to succeed in and with the advent of such popular TV programmes as Americas next Top Model it seems that every young girl now wants to be a model but they do not realise how difficult and critical an industry it is. As a model you are a self-employed, independent contractor, you are considered a sole trader in your own small business, you are not an employee of the agency you may be signed to. Whether you are a freelance model or signed to a top modelling agency you will incur basic start-up costs and as such you will be required to cover all of your own promotional expenses such as composite cards (Z Cards), agency books (portfolio), and for some agencies they will charge you to be on their website. I advise all models that I come across that they should not pay an agency to represent them. Agencies earn their money from commissions or royalties directly received from their clients or via the fees from the work that the model does. Top professional agencies do not charge a joining fee and neither do they insist that you use one of their photographers to do your portfolio, however with the top agencies it is advisable to follow their recommendations on which photographers to use to do your portfolio as that way you are more likely to get the right type of pictures that the agency needs to promote you and get you work. We advise all models that if an agency asks you to pay a fee to join them, insists you must do an expensive portfolio before you join or pay an administration fee, then simply say no and walk away.

Models must look after themselves from their skin to their body and ensure at all times they have all that they need to succeed as a top model, they must have a never say die attitude, be confident in their own abilities and understand that they will suffer lots of rejection before they finally make it. They must be professional and be on time for castings or jobs and have a professional attitude at all times.

Finally I would say to models that they must research into how the modelling industry works, what is involved and what it takes to be a top model as well as research into agencies before they apply to them.

Models must be confident and flexible in their approach to modelling and they must find out about the business side of the modelling industry as that is where a lot of models fall foul

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