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Real-Girl Models – Designers Hiring Non-Models

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Emily Johnston for Dusen Dusen's SS15 Lookbook – Continue Reading BelowElizabeth Jaeger, an artist and artist’s assistant who models for Dusen Dusen and other designersWhen Elizabeth Jaeger, who you may have seen modeling clothes for independent fashion brands and vintage stores thomas-sz , appears at the Sit & Wonder coffee shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, she’s sweaty and a bit discombobulated. She apologizes for being frazzled—she’s been welding all day in preparation for her first solo sculpture show, at the Jack Hanley Gallery in October.At 5’10”, with the kind of thick eyebrows and unbrushed hair that seem to have come straight from the fashion week runways, it’s easy to see why Jaeger has spent a lot of time in front of a camera. But, as the 26-year-old is quick to point out, she’s not actually making her living as a pretty face. Along with her own sculpture work, she assists artist Mika Rottenberg as her day job. “I don’t mind being a model, but I do happen to do other things,” she says. “I’ve never sought it out, but once you’re someone who models, people ask you to do it. It’s certainly flattering.”Instead of professional models, more and more brands, stores, and websites in the independent design world are tapping women like Jaeger to showcase their clothes. It’s partly an economic decision—independent budgets are tight—but also because designers want clients to be able to envision themselves wearing the clothes, in a way that a model’s remote, perfect attractiveness may not promote.”The real-girl models we work with are all our friends,” says Claire Mazur, co-founder of online shop Of a Kind, which sells limited edition pieces from emerging designers. “That means when it comes to things like hair and makeup, and overall look and attitude, they tend to be more in line with our style. We’ve had casting calls with professional agencies where they send beautiful girls… [but] they’re not necessarily representative of the Of a Kind girl.” – Continue Reading BelowLikewise, Ellen Van Dusen, who designs the playful, pattern-happy line Dusen Dusen, says, “I want my brand to be accessible and inclusive, and I think using a girl with more standard proportions as a model communicates that message.”Recently, established mainstream designers have adopted this mindset, seeking to capture the relatability that comes from using real girls in campaigns. Most prominently, DKNY cast “real New Yorkers” in its fall ads, and Marc by Marc Jacobs sought models for its fall campaign over social media. “We wanted the ads to shout with youth and energy… to be fresh and reclaim the spirit that the collection had when we first conceived of it,” Jacobs told WWD. Wannabe models submitted photos hashtagged with #CastMeMarc for a chance at a featured spot.Emily Johnston for Dusen Dusen's SS15 Lookbook – Continue Reading Below – Continue Reading BelowAli Breslin handles wholesale orders and PR for New York brand In God We Trust, and models for brands including Dusen Dusen.Most of the real-girl models who work with indie designers do it as a favor to friends, for trade (like getting to take home some of the clothes they wore that day), or sometimes for cash—anything from $200 to $1,000 per shoot. “I require payment for my services. It’s a job,” says Ali Breslin, who handles wholesale orders and publicity for New York brand In God We Trust. She models for Dusen Dusen, giantLION, and Gamma Folk on the side. Caroline Ventura, the founder of jewelry line BRVTVS, now carried by J.Crew, has modeled for Everlane and knitwear line Cardigan, and calls the money she makes from modeling “guiltless”: “I don’t feel bad about spending it, like I would if it were money I make from my normal job.” Ventura’s sideline has made her recognizable to a small group of avid online shoppers. “My husband gets e-mails saying, ‘Your wife is all over my Pinterest,'” Ventura says. Once, she was standing in a “really long” line at Shake Shack when the woman in front asked if Ventura was the girl from A Cup of Jo (a lifestyle blog for whom Ventura had shot some popular hair tutorials). “I said canada goose jackets , yes,” she says, “but then after a while, what do you talk about? We started talking about hamburger toppings.”Carolina Ventura – Continue Reading BelowCarolina Ventura, jewelry designer and Everlane model There can be pitfalls, like not having a constant online/offline persona. Mari Giudicelli, a shoe designer who has modeled for Maryam Nassir Zadeh on New York City’s Lower East Side and vintage store Where I Was From, takes care to only work with brands she’s personally drawn to—the better to maintain her look online and off. “It makes me very happy to help these designers show their work in the best way possible,” she says. “I want represent their style, rather than act as a human hanger.” Back at Sit & Wonder, Jaeger is preparing to return to her welding so she can finish before it gets dark, but offers a final thought about her modeling work. “It’s like yoga,” she says. “It’s really relaxing, and it’s nice to be able to follow instructions and know you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to.”Photos: Emily Johnston for Dusen Dusen’s SS15 Lookbook, Of a Kind, Carolina VenturaTrending NYHere’s a preview of exclusive content from TrendingNY, the new free weekly fashion and beauty magazine for New York women. Find this and other stories in our latest issue, out in New York now, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TrendingNY to learn more.

Real-Girl Models – Designers Hiring Non-Models

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