Fashion model

Fashion models


Fashion models help promote products such as clothes, cosmetics and appliances by posing for journalists, photographers and in front of an audience on catwalks. They have to make sure their appearance is always in order. Fashion models need to look good in front of a camera and strike the right pose.

Fashion models typically do the following:

  • Display clothing and merchandise in print and online advertisements
  • Promote products and services in television commercials
  • Wear designers’ clothing for runway fashion shows
  • Represent companies and brands at conventions, trade shows, and other events 
  • Pose for photos, paintings, or sculptures
  • Work closely with photographers, hair and clothing stylists, makeup artists, and clients to produce a desired look
  • Create and maintain a portfolio of their work
  • Travel to meet and interview with potential clients
  • Conduct research on the product being promoted—for example, the designer or type of clothing fabric
  • Answer questions from consumers about the products

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to fashion model:

promotional model
glamour model
advertising model
commercial model
editorial model
photographic model
runway model
plus-size model
hair model

Working conditions

Fashion models work in a variety of settings, including fashion shows, photo shoots, commercials, and movies. They may travel to different locations for work, and their work hours can be irregular. For example, they may have to work long hours during photo shoots, which can last all day or even into the night. They may also have to travel to different cities or countries for work.

Fashion models may have to pose in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, and they may have to try on a variety of clothing and shoes. In addition, they may be required to wear heavy makeup and hairstyles that can be damaging to their hair and skin.

Minimum qualifications

There are no formal educational credentials required to become a fashion model. Most modeling agencies allow applicants to email photos directly to the agency. The agency will then contact and interview prospective models who show potential. Many agencies also have “open calls,” whereby aspiring fashion models can walk into an agency during a specified time and meet directly with agents and clients.

Some aspiring fashion models may attend modeling schools that provide training in posing, walking, applying makeup, and other basic tasks. Although some models are discovered when agents scout for “fresh faces” at modeling schools, attending such schools does not necessarily lead to job opportunities.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Fashion model is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Fashion model career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to fashion model.

art model
event electrician
personal shopper
tent installer


Fashion models advance by working more regularly and being selected for assignments that offer higher pay. They may appear in magazines, print advertising campaigns, commercials, or runway shows that have higher profiles and provide more widespread exposure.

Because advancement depends on a fashion model’s previous work, maintaining a good portfolio of high-quality, up-to-date photographs is important in getting assignments. In addition, actively participating in social media and building a large number of followers increases exposure.

A model’s selection of an agency is also important for advancement: the better the reputation and skill of the agency, the more assignments a model is likely to get.

Like other models, fashion models may find that their career has a limited shelf life. As they age, or as fashion trends change, they may no longer be in demand. Some models are able to make a successful transition to other areas of the fashion industry, such as modeling clothes for plus-size or mature audiences, or becoming a model agent or scout. Others find work in related fields, such as acting, singing, or dancing.

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of fashion model. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of fashion model with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

stunt performer
body artist
sport official

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of fashion model.

  • Photography: Art and practice of creating aesthetically appealing images by recording light or electromagnetic radiation.
  • Make-up techniques: The various techniques and tools for applying make-up.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of fashion model.

  • Maintain personal hygiene standards: Preserve impeccable personal hygiene standards and have a tidy appearance.
  • Pose in front of a camera: Perform poses in front of cameras in order to advertise products. Listen to the directions of the photographer or director.
  • Harmonise body movements: Harmonise body movements in accordance to rhythm and melody, aestetic or dramatic concept, dramatic pace, etc.
  • Attend castings: Go to castings in order to promote yourself and show your abilities.
  • Maintain an artistic portfolio: Maintain portfolios of artistic work to show styles, interests, abilities and realisations.
  • Show intercultural awareness: Show sensibility towards cultural differences by taking actions which facilitate positive interaction between international organisations, between groups or individuals of different cultures, and to promote integration in a community.
  • Promote yourself: Market one’s own strengths in terms of skills and knowledge.
  • Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
  • Ensure cooperation among production, costume department and make-up department: Work with the staff responsible for costumes and make up in line with their creative vision and obtain directions from them about how make-up and costumes should look.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of fashion model. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Trends in fashion: New developments and trends in the world of fashion.
  • Commercial photography: The techniques and methods used in photography with the aim of engaging in a commercial activity.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of fashion model. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Participate in fashion shows: Show clothing to the audience by walking down the runway and posing for the assembled media.
  • Promote products in advertisements: Participate in advertisements by displaying clothes, accessories, beauty products, and other products. Listen to the directions of the photographer or director.
  • Meet contract specifications: Meet contract specifications, schedules and manufacturers’ information. Check that the work can be carried out in the estimated and allocated time.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Fix meetings: Fix and schedule professional appointments or meetings for clients or superiors.
  • Attend dress fittings: Go to dress fittings so the designer can alter garments according to your body shape.
  • Contact talent agents: Contact agents in charge of finding jobs for writers, actors, musicians, and other professionals in the entertainment and broadcasting businesses and maintain good relations with them.
  • Conduct research on trends in design: Conduct research on present and future evolutions and trends in design, and associated target market features.
  • Follow directions of the artistic director: Follow the instructions of the director while understanding his creative vision.

ISCO group and title

5241 – Fashion and other models

  1. Fashion model – ESCO
  2. Models : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Fashion Model Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. Featured image: By Noura Alswailem – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Last updated on November 5, 2022

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