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Photo from the São Paulo Fashion Week N55
Photo from the São Paulo Fashion Week N55
Original photo by Ana Paula Alves
Style > Fashion

Are Runway Models Losing Job Opportunities To Influencers?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Fashion is, among many others, one of the areas most affected by the Internet; and particularly by the ones who make a living out of it. The strong attendance of influencers at the most recent fashion weeks in São Paulo, New York, Paris, Milan and other cities have revealed to us that these people might be taking over runway models’ job opportunities.

Livia Nunes walking the runway of SPFW

a strategic bet

The first edition of Influence Marketing Scope by Scopen, a study about the communication market dynamics, show that advertising companies look forward to conquering visibility and constructing positioning and image. And who would be better at helping them achieve this than the ones people watch every day when scrolling through their cell phone screens? This powerful strategy to promote their products also has a financial advantage: only 0.23% of the companies’ profit turn into investment for this type of marketing.

And this could not be any different for haute couture labels, which are constantly trying to use the virtual world to make their pieces trend and be appreciated.

Also, since runway looks differ from what people typically wear on a daily basis, it is about creating and increasing a niche community: influencers are a tool in which brands can communicate to a specific group that actually consume their merchandise and have a knowledgeable point of view about it.

In the following video, for example, Catarina Tourinho, a fashion digital influencer with more than 1,3 million followers on TikTok, poses for Pacco Rabanne. Despite the absence of modeling experience, she is a personality with growing public and wardrobe comprehension, constituting an extraordinarily eligible person to sustain the brand’s name and boost its purchasers with people with an eye for designer garment.

deflecting from the industry’s polemic

The fashion business is, traditionally, prickly for the professionals in it: financial exploitation, mental health issues, sexual assaults and unattainable standards are the tough reality behind glossy magazine covers. Thankfully, the curtains that camouflage these problems are being gradually opened throughout the recent years in articles and investigations which expose modeling life’s dark side.

This silence rupture has led to agencies’ necessity of going after people who, foremost, would not be subjected to injustices and, even if they were, would hardly unmask such a situation, owing to lavish payments, which is where influencers come in to play.

Professionals bringing to light modeling industry’s insecurity.

a happy outcome

The most immediate results of this replacement are individuals without the vital know-how taking this activity and, undoubtedly, a career crisis for qualified models who are progressively losing work opportunities.

Nevertheless, this conjecture shows a bright side when it comes to making this business more embracing and democratic, especially in body terms, allowing people who are not included in the harsh “tall-skinny” spectrum to participate in an industry habitually exclusionary. During Miami Swim Week 2023, for instance, the influencer Achieng Agutu, a woman completely out of the social beauty idealisms, paraded on the catwalk for the legendary Sports Illustrated magazine.

let the good guys win!

The truth is that this circumstance is an expected phenomenon of a century marked by the proximity between job markets and the Internet. It is up to us allowing that integrity and inclusion be bigger than greedy capitalism and unprofessionalism.

The article above was edited by Mariana Aguiar.

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Marina Telent

Casper Libero '27

Estudante de jornalismo da Cásper Líbero, junto minhas paixões pela comunicação e pela vida :)