There are few professions in which women earn significantly more money then men do. Modeling is one of these industries with women not only earning more money but also receiving more attention and fame for the work they do. Despite this paradox, there is one male model receiving more attention then any other: Derek Zoolander, or as he is known when he isn’t working, Ben Stiller. At last year’s Valentino Fall 2015 show, Ben Stiller surprised the fashion world by closing the show along with Owen Wilson reprising his role as Hansel for Zoolander 2. Since then Stiller has appeared in a number of different publicity stunts for the movie including appearing on the cover of Vogue’s February issue. Additionally, he has softened fashion’s notorious ice queen, Anna Wintour, appearing in a promotional bit in which she pretends to be looking at his walk for castings.
While all this is done for the promotion of the movie, will it shine a light on the often-ignored world of male models? In the past few years we have seen a rise of a new round of supermodels with Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner becoming big celebrities. Maybe the next few years will bring us the rise of male supermodels where Sean O’Pry, David Gandy and Jon Kortajarena will become as well known as their female counterparts.
The discrepancy is often explained by the difference in the men and women’s clothing markets. There is a higher demand for women’s wear, making the industry more lucrative and the choice of model more important. However with more men becoming interested in fashion, the industry is picking up its feet in relation to time and money spent on menswear. Looking back at some of the Women’s wear Spring 2016 shows, we already see a rise in the presence of male models. Designers such as Alessandro Michele for Gucci included men in their shows, meaning they were taking time out of designing for women to create for the men.
The most innovative use of male modeling in recent months has to be Nicholas Ghesquire using Jaden Smith for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/ Summer 2016 Women’s wear campaign. The campaign features Smith in a dress and leather jacket by the designer along side other women models. When it debut on Instagram at the beginning of January, Louis Vuitton made waves as the usually traditional house stepped out of the box.
While the rise of male modeling is great for men, will it have a negative effect on women? I don’t believe it will. Not every fashion house can do what Louis Vuitton did this season. While it is innovative now, if the industry becomes too saturated in images of men wearing women’s clothing the shock factor that Ghesquire’s campaign has will be lost. Additionally we can say that hypothetically there will now be a market for women to be featured in menswear campaigns and therefore create more job opportunities for women.
So for now we can welcome the rise of Derek Zoolander and the rest of the male models. Maybe the rise in equality of male and female models will result in the equality of male and females in other areas of fashion and beyond.