Who to Know in the Fashion Industry: The Fashion Model

For those of you who don’t fall asleep with a Vogue crumpled in your hands on a regular basis like yours truly, it probably seems like there is an overwhelming number of people involved in the fashion industry.  Don’t get me wrong, there ARE an overwhelming number of people involved in the industry, but in my opinion, the list shrinks the minute you decide to focus on the ones who stand out from the crowd.  Today, we will talk models.

Models have graced the catwalks since 1852 when Marie Vernet Worth became the first official fashion model, modeling for her husband-fashion designer Charles Worth.  Oddly enough, modeling didn’t take off as popular; it wasn’t until the 1950’s when fashion photography started being more and more vital and people started to care about the faces in front of the lenses.

Top 10 models of all time:

1. Twiggy: Usually labeled as the first “supermodel” aged at just 16, Lesley Larson is iconic for her daring eyes, bold lashes, that hair, and the power she brought to the limelight in the 1960’s.  Since then, she has launched her own fashion line, been in numerous makeup campaigns and is one of the few fashion greats to be known by merely a first name.

2. Karlie KlossMy personal favorite model, KK is a Chicago native, born in 1992, and brings a sultry edge to the catwalk you normally don’t see, (or at least don’t remember.) In 2008 alone she walked 64 shows collectively between New York, Paris, and Milan’s fall fashion weeks, and this past year had her first season as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and signed with Christian Dior for the third season in a row.

3. Kate Moss: One of the most famed supermodels in the 90’s, Moss has made significant contributions to the movement aimed towards helping women fight eating disorders, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Cancer Research UK.  Despite much controversy in her personal life including drug use, partying hard, being involved in high profile relationships, etc., she still remains one of the most influential models of all time.  This striking brunette was discovered at the age of 14 and has been recognized worldwide by fashion greats since her debut due to the fact that during her time she was the only prominent model that, instead of flaunting a more curvaceous look, she was wearing a size 0.

4. Tyra Banks: While we know her now from America’s Next Top Model, Tyra was the first successful African American model, and just happened to be one of the first Victoria’s Secret Angels.  

5. Naomi Campbell: As another English model, Campbell was one of the most successful models in the 1980’s and 1990’s, another one of the six models of the time to be branded as “supermodels”.  She was the first black woman on the cover of French Vogue, and during the 80’s was part of the earth-shattering model “Trinity” consisting of her, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.

6. Linda Evangelista: One of the “Trinity” girls, Linda has been featured on over 600 covers and is considered to be the muse of photographer Steven Meisel.  She was raised in Canada but since her parents were both Italian she was adored most (unsurprisingly,) on the covers of Vogue Italia.  Recently, in 2007 she signed for a cosmetics campaign with L’Oreal Paris and in 2008 was featured in Prada’s fall campaign.

7. Chanel Iman: Another one of my personal favorites, Chanel Iman dove headfirst into the fashion industry as the youngest to ever be on the cover of American Vogue at the age 16.  As you can see, she was a star from the start, walking up and down catwalks in high fashion and haute couture, for designers from Yves St. Laurent to Alexander McQueen.  In 2010 she was officially given her Angel wings, and since is still receiving campaign offers by fashion greats Diane Von Furstenberg and Bottega Veneta.  Like Kloss, Iman isn’t leaving the studios anytime soon with her mile long legs and illuminatingly flawless skin.

8. Kate Upton: Known most for her appearances in the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issues, Kate Upton is a true American girl.  Born and raised in Michigan, she was  originally in love with being an equestrian until 2008 when she attended an Elite Model Management casting call, signing with them that very day.  Eventually she ended up in the Big Apple, currently modeling for IMG models, and since has modeled for Dooney & Bourke and Guess.  

9. Heidi Klum: If you are unaware of this German cover girl and supermodel, you may be a lost cause.  Nowadays she’s most known for hosting and judging Project Runway, but she was discovered in 1992 in a modeling contest she won by a staggering amount of votes.  Since then she has hosted the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show numerous times, has been splashed onto every prominent fashion magazine worldwide despite her critics having a problem with her more curvaceous figure.

10. Gisele Bündchen: Known for her washboard abs, Gisele is a Brazilian fashion model who, since 2004, has been recognized as the highest paid model in the world.  In 2000, she was crowned “model of the millennium” by Anna Wintour, and “the most beautiful girl in the world” by Rolling Stone, while Vanity Fair got on board with “…and God created Gisele”. She has had 11 consecutive campaigns with Dolce & Gabbana spanning from 1998-2003, and in 2011 alone she was featured in eight Vogue covers, more than anyone in the entire year.

Hopefully this list has helped you discover your inner Carrie Bradshaw while developing your strut as you walk down the catwalk of everyday life in the Midwest.

Emily Gregor

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