Male Models

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.

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Zoolander and Hansel with Valentino Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

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.

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A male model walks the runway at Gucci’s Spring 2016 Women’s wear show

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.

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Jaden Smith in Louis Vitton’s Spring/ Summer 2016 Campaign

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.

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6 comments

  1. This article is really interesting to me. It is true that modeling is one profession where women are paid more than men. That is great for women but then again, if women want equal pay in all professions, this should be changed in the modeling industry. If men begin to be paid equal to their counterparts, perhaps different fields will follow the trend.

  2. It is interesting to see how gender inequality plays a role in modeling. It’s true that womenswear has a higher demand than menswear. However, fashion has had a huge influence on leading male musicians. Artists like Kanye West and The Weeknd have started to become male icons for the fashion industry. Because of this, I believe in a few years male fashion will become even more popular. Male celebrities have started to open the gate to the menswear, and it is slowly starting to catch more attention.

  3. I believe that in future years there will be a substantial rise in the popularity of male models. Primarily because menswear is currently growing with shifting styles and a more widespread interest in mens fashion. It is just a matter of catching up with the industry. I also believe that since labels like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are including male models in their runway shows, the trend will soon begin to spread throughout the industry.

  4. I think the rise of the male model is very beneficial for equality. On the last season of America’s Next Top Model Tyra revealed that the show had become co-ed because she was upset that men were treated like accessories in the fashion industry. Being a supermodel herself, Tyra is very aware that she doesn’t have many male peers, and how unfair that is. I am also very pleased with male models walking in “Women’s wear” shows, and that Jaden Smith is modeling in skirts and dresses. This is because I believe that clothes should not have gender, and big-name brands are backing this ideology. Fashion is very much using it’s media presence to promote a progressive image, which is very gainful for social and gender equality.

  5. I think that it is interesting the way gender equality is in the fashion industry. As a female dominant industry not much thought is put into how male models are treated. I think we are going in the right direction in terms of increasing equality like how Louis Vuitton used Jaden Smith in his womenswear campaign as a model advertising the garments and not as a love interest or a sex symbol. I would like to see how this plays out in the future as fashion is ever-changing.

  6. It is so interesting how gender equality is in the fashion industry, particularly modeling. It is an industry where women earn more due to the high demand of womenswear. However, we are seeing more menswear inspired trends. Male celebrities, like Kanye West, have become fashion icons in the industry. I do like what Louis Vuitton is doing by featuring a male (Jaden Smith) into their womenswear campaign. They are taking risks and it is working. I definitely think the demand of menswear will increase; therefore, having more male models in the fashion industry and leading to gender equality. Hopefully in the future, this will influence gender equality in other industries.

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