By Shauna Mullin
From the catwalks during Boston Fashion Week to the trendy retail stores that line Newbury Street, “Fashionistas” are making a home in the city of Boston. Many people associate high fashion with Paris, New York and Milan. But stop the press everyone, because Boston, Red Sox and dirty water in tow is soaring into its own a prominent spot in this industry. Modeling agencies are tickled with excitement at the growing talent seen in the local industry.
The agencies of Boston take on the task of signing models then booking them with jobs at retail stores, with independent designers, or with other exciting work. In the midst of more and more talent emerging on the scene, the demand for these models increases. The model Ivania Nicole, says, “Now is the time to get in before the market gets bigger, tougher and more competitive.” The agencies and models are taking on exciting new opportunities with their own Bostonian style that is with Boston’s refreshing optimism and bright personality!
A modeling agency’s job is to find the models work in a variety of avenues in the industry. These include but are not limited to: print and promotional work, commercial print, runway and television. Agencies have a network of clients, all of which are highly regarded companies and brand names that have worked with the agency before. In the Boston area, common clients range from Magazines such as the Improper Bostonian to the fitness market with brands like PUMA and NIKE to big box retailers like TJ Maxx. However, this year’s Boston Fashion Week was a triumphant display of growing talent from a designing standpoint as well.
Most modeling agencies run in a similar way. When a model signs with an agency they must obtain head shots and composition cards which consist of a few pictures, their measurements, and the contact information of their agency. It is important that communication between client and model go through the agency. This provides not only a professional situation, but a safe one for the models. When speaking with Emily Huntoon from Click Models of Boston Inc., she expanded upon the dangers of freelance modeling. She explained the “safety factor” that a reputable agency like Click provides. The models have someone looking out for their best interests, booking good jobs, and negotiating fair compensation. Casey of Maggie Inc., another reputable agency, explained that when models solely depend on freelancing they have a harder time finding work.
Bookers at the agency will send models on casting calls for a job that they fit the criteria for. The market in Boston has a special style that effects the criteria looked for in a model. Even as the fashion industry reaches new heights that make it more comparable with the primary markets, this city keeps its personality and willingness to take chances. Boston has a fresh and optimistic take on the fashion world. The people in Boston are willing to, “Take a chance on a different face,” Emily says. Jo Somers of Copley Seven explains the healthier look here. She describes it as a “Willowy look” seeing sizes four to six and sometimes even an eight on the runway. These girls are slim and well proportioned as a result of eating right and exercising. Somers speaks of the integrity and honesty which she has found here in Boston with the models she works with, which is considerably different in other parts of the industry. She calls it a “Healthy market” and speaking on behalf of working as a model she says, “There is more to it than just a pretty face.” Because of the clientele located in the area, the models here are required to have more of a commercial look. Casey says that they look for models with, “Good smiles and that are suitable and relatable to the customer”. Casey calls this “Aspirational”, a term to describe the ideal commercial print model having a physical appearance that the consumer aspires for.
An “aspirational” young model and fashion entrepreneur is the beautiful Ivania Nicole. Signed with agencies both locally and nationally, Ivania can make good comparisons between the different cities she works in. She explains “Once you build up your name it’s much easier”. She says here in Boston, “It’s all about networking…once you build that relationship they’ll keep coming to you.” Much of Boston Fashion is about helping others grow and develop their name in the industry. She explains that sometimes she will do fashion shows for free or work with a photographer for no charge if she likes their work.
The average model in Boston is travelling less as opportunities grow right outside her backdoor. Click Models Inc. took part in “Fashion Evolution Forever” and “Emerging Trends” during Fashion Week 2009. Ivania also walked in five of the Fashion Week shows including the Fashion Expose. She explains that she had to pick and chose what shows to take part in because there was so much going on this year. She says “Boston Fashion Week upgraded,” even from just a year ago.
Emily from Click says that many of their models are students in the area. Boston is such a college town that it’s impossible to overlook the number of art schools fostering the up-and-coming talent, beyond providing models. Emily says “Yes,” with no hesitation, that Boston fashion is an exciting and growing industry. Designers and other entrepreneurs of fashion are getting their start here instead of New York. A breathtaking display of designs was seen at Boston Fashion Week this Year. Emily attested to the fact saying, “The designs in Fashion Evolution…I was really taken aback, “and I “look forward to working with emerging designers”. Somers explains the “crop in the last couple of years of outstanding young talent is very exciting”.
In comparison to the other fashion Mecca’s of the world, Boston is considerably small. Bostonians have turned this potentially negative fact into a positive, offering, “Good camaraderie…like a family,” says Casey. Boston has a warm and welcoming atmosphere for tourists and models alike. It only makes sense for Boston to have an active fashion scene as it is home to thousands of college students, business professionals and international visitors and students alike.
Photos By Tiffany Fortier & Yuki Paradisio