New Face to Watch: Erjona Ala (FORD, NY) exits Costume National
A lot of modeling agencies are stuck in the Print Era Paradigm--pre-internet thinking in which the Old School hierarchy of exclusivity dominated the management of models visibility. While this system may still warrant merit, the general lack of adaptability with regards to original content via the internet is appalling. Some agencies are kidding themselves if they think republishing editorial, campaign, or runway shots online will generate a sustainable presence. The editors of today may visit an agency site to get a models stats, but the editors of tomorrow will have grown up learning models names through tumblr, blogspot, and other social media. Modeling Agencies that fail to adapt now to the Internet Era Paradigm and it's vast plethora of opportunity will be still be riding horse and buggy while their competitors speed it out in Maybachs. The internet revolution is here and it's happening in Real Time.
I can't think of single better agency to team up with for the fashion season besides FORD models. Have a click on the previous link to see what I've been up to. They get it. In the same way Henry Ford said he'd belt the earth with his cars before the highways and roads for the cars even existed, FORD models is doing the same online. They dare to venture where other agencies fail to tread. They understand the Bookings Editor's of tomorrow are the teens of today on tumblr and iphones. Agencies which reproduce Print Era thinking online as their sole source of internet presence may as well have a horse tug a Model-T chained to it's back when they could just make their own car to begin with.
Even the fashion industry which for so long tried to protect it's exclusivity has gone on the record about the power of the internet many times. In her Interview Magazine article with Joseph Altuzarra, Anna Dello Russo remarked:
ANNA DELLO RUSSO: You’ve only done four collections and already you’re more popular than Tom Ford. How do you think that happened?
JOSEPH ALTUZARRA: [laughs] I think it’s because of the Internet. You can build a brand very fast now, especially with bloggers and how fast images can get out—the message just goes out faster and stronger than ever before.
And in similar fashion at the IFB Conference in 2011, Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler remarked, "Blogs posting things about us, going viral, spreading throughout the interent...it has an extraordinary impact on the business"
With the speed at which images travel online now, a models off duty image is half the battle. Her sense of style and fashion can rapidly propel her press image online. Some within the modeling industry "get it" like Casting Director Jennifer Starr who was quoted by New York Magazine recently:
"Model street style has blown up significantly in the past few years, what do you make of it?
There is no doubt in my mind that if you have authentic personal style, it will help you as a model. Look at models like Erin Wasson, Abbey Lee, Freja Beha, and Daria Webowy, all of whom have great style. Personal style indicates to me that you have a great sense of self. The key is having authentic style. You must feel comfortable with the image you're projecting; otherwise, it's obvious you're trying too hard."
And in an interview I conducted with Sarah Doukas, the founder of STORM models who discovered Kate Moss in JFK airport:
"Craig: Can a models sense of style positively impact her career?
Sarah: I definitely think it can positively impact her career. It's got to be simple but the point about that question is, that if they have absolutely no style and they go out just not looking great, they're wearing very unflattering clothes and things like that, then it's definitely going to have a negative impact."
Every home has a computer, but not every home has a copy of American Vogue or Paris Vogue. A new generation is growing up with the internet literally at their fingertips. And I can't think of an agency that I'd be more proud to work with at this moment in time than FORD models. If you haven't checked out the site, go now.
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