I'm an obsessive Instagram user and, as I run an account in the fashion niche, I'm often looking at the pages of big brands. Something has been bothering me for a long while, and it's this: why don't designers tag their models?
When I go to post my runway photography or that of colleagues onto the company Instagram account, I look to tag everyone. Standard logic to me is that the photographer should be credited, the designer whose show they were walking in, then the models, and afterwards, the makeup artist, stylist, and anyone else whose work can directly be seen in the image.
So, why is it that the trend for big fashion brands seems to be including tags for the design house, creative director, makeup artist, accessories designer, casting director, set designer, and so on... but not the model?
Let's take a look around the world and dispel some thoughts about whether this could be a cultural thing. It looks like just plain ignorance...
London Fashion Week Men's (June 2019)
In this post from Iceberg, the following people are tagged: the designer behind the brand, the British Fashion Council (BFC), the brand themselves, and a magazine. Not tagged: the model, Harry Thomas (@harrythomas___).
At Stefan Cooke, we have tags for the photographer, footwear designer, hosiery brand, textiles lab, set designer, show producer, hair stylist, makeup artist, stylist, casting director, and a couple of indeterminate creatives. Missed out are the models, Luke Solo (@lukesolosangster) and Pablo Fernandez (@pvbloo_).
As a counterpoint, here's Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY doing it exactly right. Not only have they tagged the model, but also about 500 other people. That must be everyone who was conceivably involved in the production at a visible level!
Paris Fashion Week Men's/Haute Couture (June/July 2019)
A tag for the designer behind Louis Vuitton's latest collection and nothing else. A little digging reveals that the model is... no, actually, it's impossible to find him from their Instagram page, because they don't allow tagged photos to show up either. They haven't indicated the agencies or casting director responsible, so actual detective work would be required here.
Hermes don't seem to have figured out how tagging works at all yet. The model's identity remains a mystery.
Counterpoint: Lanvin, who tagged models in behind-the-scenes shots, perhaps making up for the fact that they initially posted only videos of the catwalk looks.
A foray into the most recent womenswear collections: Armani seem happy to credit the photographer, but everyone else is ignored. None of the beautiful models here are tagged.
Milan Fashion Week Haute Couture/Mens (June/July 2019)
Guess how many models were tagged at MSGM? That's right! None at all! It's starting to feel exhausting even trying to track down the identity of these models.
None of Ralph Lauren's images from the Purple Label collection at MFWM are tagged with model names. These posts are followed by images of members of the Lauren family... who are tagged. The models don't appear in their tagged images either, and since it's unrealistic to suggest they wouldn't have posted anything, this means yet another brand who is actively restricting access to their identities.
Fendi provide a counterpoint here, tagging models even when they only appear in video, leading the way!
You may wonder why this matters. Well, call me old-fashioned, but I like to think that people should be credited for their work, especially when, even at the higher echelons of catwalk shows, models can be severely underpaid (or not paid at all), expected to work long days, and treated poorly by staff who see them as walking coat hangers. There's more to go into there, but that's for another article.
Some fashion houses do pay fairly. Some treat their models well. And some give credit where credit's due. Just not all of them, not yet.
So, brands: here's a challenge. Maybe be decent humans once in a while, and consider giving some of that actual "exposure" that so many of your models are paid in and tag them. It takes your social media manager roughly three seconds, but it might make a big difference to a young model's career.