Forget catwalks — locked-down fashion models try homemade photo shoots taken by mom and dad

Some of the world’s biggest fashion brands are asking locked-down models to shoot their own campaigns to promote the latest clothing collections.

While frustrated customers are unable to visit malls, retail giants such as Zara owner Inditex

and ASOS

continue to see internet sales soar and are having to seek innovative ways to display their latest designs online.

Social distancing has ruled out models promoting items on catwalks or at jet-set locations, but one model agency has found an innovative solution — the Do It Yourself photo shoot.

Anthony Bourgois, the president of Women Model Management, part of the Elite World Group, gathered some of his best talent willing to stage photo shoots from home and won interest from different brands.

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“What we did at Women, [was] sent a very big presentation to all our clients, basically telling them where models are, pictures of their location, because we want to help them to organize home shoots,” he told MarketWatch.

But Bourgois said some models are luckier than others and live with photographers, while others are stuck with the camera skills of parents or nonprofessional roommates.

“Sometimes it is very, very easy because some of them are married or they are dating a photographer within the business,” he said.

For those that cannot access a nice location or somebody to help with pictures, “it is tough,” Bourgois says. Only about 40% of his talent have been able to secure work from home.

One of them is Héloïse Guérin, who lives with her professional photographer husband, Victor Demarchelier, and their two daughters.

Guérin with her children, shot by her husband, professional photographer Victor Demarchelier

Victor Demarchelier

She has been one of Women’s most successful DIY talents because of her husband’s skill. Even her children have been involved too.

“It’s definitely a new experience — Victor has always used me for art projects and we have worked together on a couple of shoots before, but this is entirely different,” she told MarketWatch.

Usually, Women’s models work with a team of over 20 stylists, makeup artists, and set designers, but now it is just Guérin and her husband.

“I do my own hair and make up and put the looks together, I discuss styling with clients and, my favorite part, I get to actually look at pictures with my husband and give my input,” she said.

Clients are talking about returning to studios at the end of May and in June as several states begin to ease lockdowns, Bourgois said, but the industry could look a lot different.

Instead of an army of assistants, “we’re gonna limit the number of people on the shoots, maybe instead of 20 people we will try to do it with five people,” he said.

ASOS said in May it was encouraging its influencers to shoot from home as brands across the industry pivot to online sales.

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Figures from the online sales tracker Interactive Media in Retail Group show retail sales grew by 23.3% in April compared with the year before, and Bourgois thinks brands are realizing the necessity of models, even in a postcoronavirus world.

He said: “Sometimes people say, oh, maybe in a few years, we won’t need models anymore, like, you know, but it’s not true, we can see that, without the models, the brands are really, really struggling.”

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