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What is High-Fashion/Editorial Modeling?

When those outside the modeling industry think of models, they typically think of glamorous photoshoots and high fashion runway shows. While this isn’t a wrong impression to have, most people don’t realize that there are several different categories/styles of modeling, and not all models do or are suited for all the different types.

In a previous post, I reviewed some of the main characteristics of commercial modeling. In this post, I will cover the basics of fashion/editorial modeling and how it differs from commercial modeling.

*Quick note: “high-fashion model”, “fashion model”, “fashion editorial model” and “editorial model” are all terms that generally refer to the same style of modeling and are often used interchangeably. In this post, I’ll refer to it as fashion/editorial, but know that you may hear any of the above ways when referring to this particular category.

Editorial for Nous Magazine shot by Tiffany Marie Photo

So, what is fashion/editorial modeling? While commercial modeling is relatable and has a more realistic feel, fashion/editorial modeling is almost the opposite. This style is more glamorous, dramatic, and artistic and often gives off a luxurious, dreamy, or even weird vibe. Fashion/editorial modeling is typically what you see in fashion magazines, and the goal is to tell a story through a series of images. Commercial modeling is more of what you’d see in a catalog or on a website to sell a specific product or brand. Fashion/editorial modeling is also used to sell products but usually has a combination of brands and products and is selling an overall feeling or emotion (that is then associated with the different products used in the story).

The models used for fashion/editorial modeling are also more specific. Unlike commercial modeling, which aims to relate to and sell to the masses, fashion/editorial style is typically geared to a more exclusive audience. Because of this, the types of models preferred for this style often don’t closely relate to the average population. While, over time, the idea of what a fashion/editorial model is and should look like has slowly become more inclusive, the model body-type requirements for this category are still relatively strict and non-inclusive. With very specific height, size, and sometimes age requirements, this modeling category is much harder to get into, and often the length of time models work in this category is shorter than it would be in the commercial world.

Fashion/editorial models can do commercial work, and commercial models can do fashion/editorial work. Still, their body types and overall look often restrict them from being fully accepted in both categories simultaneously. A commercial model may not fit the strict requirements to do the majority of fashion/editorial jobs, and a fashion/editorial model may be too unique looking to get booked for many commercial jobs. The models that are unique looking while still being relatable to the general population are the most successful at consistently crossing over between the two categories.

Because fashion/editorial models are regularly seen in fashion magazines and high-end designer runways, they are often seen as public figures and become famous household names. The models that reach that status are often referred to as “Supermodels” and are a very elite (and small) group. While commercial models may also be getting very consistent work and be well known in the commercial realm, they often don’t reach the supermodel status because they aren’t regularly seen in fashion magazine spreads or high-end campaigns.


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