Beyond the Runway: The New Model for Fashion Entrepreneurs

3 min read

In the glittering world of high fashion, models are often seen merely as the faces of brands, embodying the aesthetic visions of designers. However, a deeper dive into the profession reveals that successful models are much more than their physical appearances—they are astute entrepreneurs, managing their careers with the insight of seasoned business executives.

The Entrepreneurial Model

The journey of a model as an entrepreneur begins with the understanding that they are, in essence, a personal brand. Each booking, catwalk, and photoshoot is an investment in their brand equity. “Models need to see themselves as businesses,” says Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. “In today’s digital age, they are not just walking billboards, but multimedia platforms.”

Indeed, models like Tyra Banks and Kendall Jenner have exemplified this entrepreneurial spirit. Banks, for instance, leveraged her modeling career to build a multifaceted empire that includes a production company and a cosmetics line. Jenner uses her extensive social media following to promote her brand partnerships, effectively monetizing her online presence.

Strategic Career Management

Managing a modeling career requires strategic planning, akin to managing a startup. Models must be discerning in their choice of assignments, aligning them with their personal brand and long-term career goals. This selective approach ensures that each job contributes positively to their portfolio and overall market value.


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Networking is another crucial aspect, often determining the longevity and success of a model’s career. Building strong relationships with designers, photographers, and agencies can lead to lucrative opportunities and collaborations. “It’s about who you know and how you manage those relationships,” comments Edward Enninful, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue.

Financial Insights

Understanding the financials is key to sustaining a career in modeling. Like any entrepreneur, models must manage their earnings, invest wisely, and plan for the future. “Models should think of each paycheck not just as income but as capital for their ongoing enterprise,” advises a financial planner specializing in the fashion industry.

Diversification is also a strategy employed by model entrepreneurs. Expanding into related fields such as acting, designing, or digital influencing can create additional revenue streams and provide a safety net against the unpredictable nature of modeling work.

The Digital Dimension

In the age of social media, models have unprecedented opportunities to build and control their own narratives. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow models to connect directly with their audience, showcase their work, and express their personal brand beyond the runway. “Social media is a powerful tool for models to amplify their presence and engage with a global audience,” says Chiara Ferragni, a fashion influencer and entrepreneur.

As the fashion industry evolves, the role of the model is expanding beyond traditional boundaries. Today’s models are pioneers of their own careers, navigating the complexities of the business with entrepreneurial flair. Their success is defined not just by the campaigns they front or the designers they walk for, but by their ability to manage their careers as thriving businesses. In the words of Coco Chanel, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” To that, one might add, “and entrepreneurial.”

This approach to modeling not only revolutionizes how models view their careers but also empowers them to take control of their trajectories, ensuring longevity and success in the fast-paced world of fashion.

Diana Miles

Diana Miles is a burgeoning entrepreneur and fashion enthusiast who completed her studies in Fashion Merchandising at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2019. With an ambition to blend creative talents with business opportunities, she is on the verge of establishing a consultancy firm aimed at guiding new fashion designers in forging pivotal business partnerships.

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