Kate Moss was first spotted in an airport; Jourdan Dunn in Primark. But does a modelling career now begin with a selfie? We speak to industry insiders to find out their take…
Last week the Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign landed with nine new faces discovered via Instagram and Cara Delevingne is, as we type holding an open casting call for her upcoming capsule collection for DKNY. Levis did it; Rimmel did it; ASOS did it. We all know Instagram is great for stalking Kim Kardashian and posting a smug shot, but could it also be the place to become the next Kate Moss?
Katie Grand, art director and stylist on the Marc by Marc campaign, explained why they did their casting call online: "We’d done a shoot with Boo George for LOVE magazine and cast it on Instagram. I loved the diversity of characters that applied to the shoot so suggested it to Marc for the Marc by Marc campaign.” Casting Director Anita Bitton sifted through all the 70,000 applicants before Fashion Editor Phoebe Arnod edited it down to a shortlist of 50 who went along to a casting in New York. “I thought it was important to capture the energy and grit of the Marc by Marc show and the campaign should make the clothes live,” Katie adds.
[Marc by Marc Jacobs]
When looking for the face of his first Diesel ad, super stylist Nicola Formichetti trawled through Tumblr and Instagram so he could have a diverse cast that broke the doe-eyed mould. "Fashion should be about different colours, different body shapes, black, white, whatever," he explained to Grazia Daily. "Its still insane how rarely you see diversity in the media and in the 'traditional' fashion industry."
ASOS had the same 'modelling for all' philosophy with their Instagram-led search to find the next Curve supermodel. It is this accessibility which made winner Lauren Punter consider entering. “In general the prospect of walking into a model agency can be daunting, so being able to enter this competition by taking a selfie was the perfect platform for me,” she explains.
ASOS winner Lauren Punter
Model agencies are also scouting for new faces online. Kellydeene Skerritt, New Faces agent, at Next Model Management reckons "you’re as likely to find a great face these days on Instagram as you are sitting on a bus or walking around a festival." However Polly Lovelady, online editor at Models 1, doesn't think Instagram could ever be the new Oxford Street. "The great thing about scouting outdoors is that you get a clearer and more honest image of your potential model. I'm not sure it will ever come to beat real time. " Plus, sifting through 70,000 Instagrams is hardly efficient. Not to mention the issue of filter trickery.
Photographer Nick Knight and founder of ShowStudio doesn't see a difference between selfie scouting and spotting someone on the street in Camden. "They are both just people you bump into. The Internet is just the latest way to do it, which is good because we find more people. Gareth Pugh casting his shows online, say, is just a different way of interacting; now you can see faces from across the whole world." He adds that he still believes the work of a modelling agency is important.
Kellydeene from Next explains: "A lot of what we do as model agents is about finding people we see potential in that may be overlooked by the average person on the street. Once we discover that girl or boy we help style them, teach them how to model, give them confidence and the tools they need. That is a process and an important one."
Of course Instagram is not just a spring board for new faces. You only need to look to Cara Delevingne and her 5.7 million followers to see how a profile is the new portfolio. Model Leomie Anderson, who has worked with the likes of Moschino and Oscar de la Renta, says: "I definitely think that my Instagram is a better representation of me than any picture in my portfolio. In America, I have been given more work on the basis of my following. My bookers were so happy when I hit 10k followers on Twitter because clients always ask about the following of the girl."
A model 'gramming a campaign can already be included in a contract, but Models 1 expect that a models' rates will soon directly correlate with their Instagram following. They imagine the most logical way of doing it would be attaching a price per follower.
Nick Knight says, "as a photographer when you work with someone like Cara Delevingne or Karlie Kloss you are aware that their followers far outstrip the audience of traditional media." On one of his recent shoots the girls on set had more Instagram followers combined than the entire population of Greece. Surely that's worth paying for?
Do you think more brand's should scout via Instagram? Have your say in the comments section below...