In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, PdM will be showcasing the diversity of Latino models in and around Chicago. According to an ABC News segment on fashion models from 2012, Latinos, in particular Latin males, are highly-sought after by fashion powerhouses like Gucci, Fendi, and Marc Jacobs.
Professional models make up a very small chunk of the work force. In 2008, there were 2,200 models employed by agencies, out of which 988 were of Latin origin. That number is expected to grow to 1,400 by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most working models start their careers at age 16, but Latinas often begin at a younger age, modeling for quinceañera magazines or mom and pop business promotional materials. In short, Hispanic Heritage Month is a platform to celebrate the changing face of style, fashion, and sabor.
Ana Lucia is a freelance model from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She currently lives in Chicago and works in marketing. However, he true passion is modeling and would like to work for a top agency in Miami or New York.
"I love what I do, but I want more," Ana Lucia stated. "I'm not selfish or anything, but I would love to be featured in print magazines and walk a runway."
Mary Clarke, an agent for Mother Model Management, points out that having a model’s body depends more on proportion and measurements, not a hard weight number.
“Honestly, with every model it is so different based on age, rate of development, response from clients,” she wrote in an email to PdM.
Some designers, like Diane von Furstenberg, have called for more diversity, and China's growing appetite for high-fashion has resulted in more Asian models being cast for shows. However, some also see this as a kind of art form - focusing on the stereotype of exotic Asian "otherness" - and don't think it should be subject to some sort of quota system. Backstage after designer Nicole Miller's show for NNFW14, her 20 or so models were standing around, celebrating with Miller. A quarter of them were models of color.
"I had five diversified girls, plus a redhead, which is the most diversity because they're very - the lowest percentage of the population is redheads," stated Miller in an email to PdM.
As Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the accomplishments of the Latino community in the USA, it is important to embrace the past, actively work to become the best fashionista or style guru one can be in the present, and make the simple yet positive changes in one's industry so as to keep moving forward. Adelante.