How to become a fashion model

Last Updated on 6th January 2024

From the aspiring model to the Instagram fashion ambassador who wants to start on a professional career path. There is a high demand to know how to become a fashion model.

Professional modelling is not just living a champagne lifestyle like Übermodel Gisele Bündchen, jetting from London to New York fashion week. Or emulating the 2019 Fashion awards model of the year Adut Akech and strutting the runway for Saint Laurent.

There is more to being a model than learning how to pose and you don’t have to have the body of a victoria secret model to be a success. We hope this article helps shed some light on how to start modelling, which can be a great career and lead to big things. Love Island producers use modelling agencies as part of their contestant research process.

We would always urge you research companies before handing over any money to them, and strongly advise children always have a parent, guardian or chaperone with them on any assignment.

If you want to become a fashion model it requires hard work and discipline. It’s not just about looking good with the clothes in your closet. Read on for more tips and guidance.

become a fashion model

How to become a model

So now you know what you are signing up for, let’s look at what can get you there to become a fashion model. This is general advice as the skill sets vary for each niche.

Research and practise how to become a fashion model

If you want to be a runway model, you will have to nail that walk and pose. So research it, watch some youtube tutorials and your favourite model in action. Then practise repeatedly.

If you want to be a photographic model, you need to research and practise your poses. When you are ready, get someone else to take pictures of you and build your confidence up. Look at the results of your test, and keep practising until you are.

Do appreciate that friends and family will be very supportive but will not look at your pictures impartially. You will need to get outside opinions and the feedback might not be what you want to hear. You need to be prepared for this and remember that feedback is a gift. You need to stay positive but take all comments on board. Peoples opinions are subjective, so don’t base your self-worth on what people think.

Get a modelling portfolio

There are many modelling agencies out there but it is hard to break into the bigger agencies without a portfolio or being scouted first.

Agencies can help build up a modelling portfolio. They usually offer a free consultation and can arrange a test shoot.

Look after your skin and health

Often modelling agencies are looking for natural beauty, and you cannot always hide behind makeup so take care of your skin. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, make sure you wash and moisturize your face twice daily. Having straight teeth will also be an advantage.

While fitness modelling is based on how toned you are requiring you to stay in shape, in general, you will need to be professional and look after your body. The key is to be healthy and toned with regular exercise for long term benefits. Please remember that being healthy is not starving yourself or bulimia, a balanced diet and exercise is the easy solution.

Maintain Professionalism and personal safety

Editorials, e-Commerce businesses and fashion photographers all have something in common, they will expect a level of professionalism at all times. This is the right attitude, work ethic, punctuality, responsive, ability to attend short notice, long-distance and to work hours. Everyone has a job to get done, and if you want to be a part of that then you need to work with the companies to achieve their goals.

But bending over backwards to please everyone has limits, and in this industry please be wary of exploitation. Naturally starting any career requires hard work, but if anyone asks for favours in return, please just get up and walk out. Don’t feel pressured into nude modelling if it is not something you have agreed in advance. Have a friend or family member escort you to all jobs to be available if you need support.

Always heavily research modelling agencies, casting directors, photographers, casting sessions in advance and make sure they are legitimate and above board.

Increase your social media presence

Streetwear clothing brands in particular love models with a good social media following as the models usually promote the brands while on the photoshoot. Modelling Agencies are aware of the power of social media and social influencing and this could be a major factor in your quest to become a fashion model.

lifestyle fashion model

What is a fashion model?

A Fashion model could be a runway model at a fashion event or a commercial model where catalogue, editorial, or lifestyle shots (on the beach or street) have a primary aim to promote the clothing.

Fashion models used to be of a certain type, but in reality, the models should reflect society as consumers are more inclined to buy if they have an understanding of how the clothes would fit them. Over recent years we are seeing a much more diverse use of fashion models.

What are the different types of fashion model?

There are different types, so it is good to understand the differences and what would suit you:

Runway Models

A person who displays a new clothing collection by walking along a runway in front of an audience.

Mature Fashion Models

Typical mature models would be considered over 40, and there is a demand for this.

Child Fashion Models

Typically under 16’s would be classified as children.

Plus Size Models

Fashion models who’s measurements would be bigger than usual, like Sophie Dahl.

Male Fashion models

Fashion models who are men.

Female Fashion models

Fashion models who are female.

Non-Binary models

Fashion models who do not identify as a gender, like Cara Delevingne.

Social Media Fashion Models

Social media influencers who use Instagram or TikTok to promote clothing brands.

Nude models/Glamour models

Requires confidence and sex appeal, and body shape would be subject to requirements.

Lingerie models/Bikini models/Swimsuit model

Similar to fitness models, usually these would require good body tone.

Fitness model

Models used for gym wear and fitness equipment, which requires toned muscles or a well-defined body.

Streetwear Model

Before the growth of urban wear, any model not clean-cut was considered alternative. Streetwear models tend to be heavily tattooed, and there is a growing demand. This is the best chance of the instagram route to modelling.

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Chloé Safilo
Chloé Saffio is our resident Fast Fashion Expert for the UK Urban and Streetwear scene. Her eyes have been constantly glued to social media for the last 10 years giving her an unrivalled insight. In her spare time, she used to like shopping and lying in the sunshine and making the pilgrimage to Ibiza. Now, she is a tired and grumpy new mother and back from maternity leave as the full time FFN writer. Chloe lives in London where she completed her journalism degree at the University of Roehampton. She lives in a small flat Putney with her fiancée Christian, daughter Sofia, and their French Bulldog Coco. And she's on the look out for a nice house and garden at a bargain price,