Runway models showcase clothes from fashion designers, fashion media, and consumers. They are also called “live models” and are self-employed. Runway models work in different locations, constantly travelling between those cities where fashion is well known—London, Milan, New York City, and Paris. Second-tier international fashion center cities include Rome, Florence, Venice, Brescia, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Moscow. Cities where catalog work comprises the bulk of fashion packaging, merchandising and marketing work are Miami, San Francisco, Sydney, Chicago, Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hamburg, London, and Beijing.
The criteria for runway models include certain height and weight requirements. During runway shows, models have to constantly change clothes and makeup. Models walk, turn and stand in order to demonstrate the garment’s key features. Models also go to interviews (called “go and sees”) to present their portfolios. The more experience a model has, the more likely she is to be hired for a fashion show. A runway model can also work in other areas, such as department store fashion shows, and the most successful models sometimes create their own product lines or go into acting.
The British Association of Model Agents (AMA) says that female models should be around 34″-24″-34″ and between 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) and 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) tall. The average model is very slender. Those who do not meet the size requirement may try to become a plus-size model. According to the New York Better Business Career Services website, the preferred dimensions for a male model are a height of 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) to 6 ft 2 in (189 cm), a waist of 29–32 in (73.66–81.28 cm) and a chest measurement of 39–40 in (99.06–101.60 cm). Male runway models are notably skinny and well toned.
Male and female models must also possess clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Stringent weight and body proportion guidelines form the selection criteria by which established and would‑be models are judged for their placement suitability, on an ongoing basis—with some variation regionally and market tier-level dependent subject—to current prevailing trends at any point, in any era—by agents, agencies and end-clients.
Formerly, the required measurements for models were 35″-23.5″-35″ in (90-60-90 cm), which were the alleged measurements of Marilyn Monroe. Today’s fashion models tend to have measurements closer to the AMA-recommended shape, but some – such as Afghan model Zohre Esmaeli – still have 35″-23.5″-35″ measurements. Although in some fashion centres, a size 00 is more ideal than a size 0.
The often thin shape of many fashion models has been criticized for warping girls’ body image and encouraging eating disorders.Organisers of a fashion show in Madrid in September 2006 turned away models who were judged to be underweight by medical personnel who were on hand. In February 2007, six months after her sister, Luisel Ramos—also a model—died, Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos became the third fashion model to die of malnutrition in six months. The second victim was Ana Carolina Reston.Luisel Ramos died of heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa just after stepping off the catwalk.