Creativity at London Fashion Week

Guest blog from Models 1

September 13, 2019

Fashion Week is one of the UK's most important times for the creative industries with a huge amount of cross-sector collaboration. To celebrate London Fashion Week starting today, we caught up with Models 1 Art Director, Aaron J. Hurley, and agent Richard Habberley, who talked us through the creative process of one of the most important parts of London Fashion Week - the 'Showpack'.

All year long, Models1 scours the UK for the newest and brightest faces to join our prestigious agency. Of the hundreds of faces we scout, the thousands of walk-ins we meet and the unimaginable number of online applications we review -  only a handful of these go on to sign with us. During Fashion Week (which occurs four times a year in the four major cities of NY, LDN, PAR and MI) Models1 introduces a select group to the industry as our “Showpack” – the names and faces that will be seen on catwalks around the world and the future stars of major fashion and beauty campaigns in the following months.

The showpack consists of anywhere from 15 – 50 “cards” which features a model's image and measurements. The cards are sent to the top casting directors of whom will handpick which girls/boys they wish to see for a casting. The cards are our most vital piece of marketing/branding each season and no expense is spared in their creation. Our Art Director, Aaron J. Hurley and renowned women’s agent, Richard Habberley, came together to discuss the message for the season (a renewed dedication to high-fashion models and homegrown British beauties) and how it would be reflected in our cards. Rising photographer Paul Scala, was then recruited to shoot the image for the models front of cards. From a redesign of our Models1 logo to arduous conversations on glossy vs. matte – the cards are in their final stages of production.

The showpack is released only a few days before the start of fashion month which begins in New York on Thursday August 5th. Until then, it’s a heavily guarded project.

How did you get started in your career?

Aaron Hurley: I started as an assistant to various Irish photographers and through school built up a client base in Dublin before opening my own studio. I then moved to London in April 2018 and started working with Models 1. 

Richard Habberley: I had friends who were models and by default ended up working in an agency in London in 1987. 

What was something you learned in the early stages of your career that you've kept in mind ever since?

RH: As a manager my focus is to frame the talent and open doors to the right opportunities whilst realistically managing expectations of both the talent and the client. 

AH: It was very apparent to me that respect, communication and teamwork are vital on any set or project. One person can let an entire shoot down if they haven’t got a great attitude. The best pictures come from a strong team who are all working towards one goal which is to create.

As you know, the creative industries infiltrate all parts of the UK economy. Can you talk us through some of the different creative aspects of the show pack and of the lead up to Fashion Week? 

AH: There are a few things that people may not think we take into consideration when prepping for our show cards like paper weight, printing techniques, typography - these are all essential parts of our marketing. Last year, we re-introduced and re-designed our original logo from the 60s and its driven us into a really modern space design-wise that we want to be reflected in the photography that accompanies the card. We brought in photographer Paul Scala to shoot some of the girls as we felt his style would highlight their beauty and personality in a strong but simplistic way. This was the first time that we’ve shot all new images for show cards which is really exciting. We’re putting young models in front of influential casting directors who in return we hope to cast in premium fashion shows. The show card must illustrate the model's ability to match that level of quality on the runway. 

RH: My philosophy is that it takes one strong image to capture the zeitgeist of the season and that the package should be cohesive to the point and simple. no bells no whistles just a strong image that speaks to the designer show producer and stylist and says- you inspire me4. What are some of the unknown job roles within fashion that our readers may not know about? 

What are some of the unknown job roles within fashion that our readers may not know about? 

AH: Fashion week, unless you’re in the thick of it, can be a mystery, before I started doing shows I had no idea the amount of people involved to bring a show to life. Dressers get little consideration but they’re so crucial to a show running smoothly. Outside of the beauty teams, the production personnel, caterers, music curators there’s a huge army backstage and if you have a love of fashion but don’t quite know where you’d fit, there’s bound to be a place for you. 

If there was something that you would want our readers to know about fashion week and the creative work that goes into it, what would it be? 

RH: The work on the show pack, the flights, the on the ground transportation, the castings, the fittings, the refits, the multiple calls, the rehearsals that then may or may not lead to being booked for what is essentially a 90 second rotation on a runway . Multiply that ad Infinitum and you have a fashion week

Why is it important for fashion to be considered an integral part of the UK's creative industries? 

RH: Look at the billing and revenue generated by this industry.

AH: Looking beyond the revenue the British fashion industry generates, I think it’s important to acknowledge that fashion is soundboard of creative ideas and it weaves through different mediums from print to film. No one can claim that fashion is pigeonholed into one area and doesn’t influence other industries. 

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Take a look at the finished showpacks on the Models 1 website, and follow all of the London Fashion Week updates on the Models 1 Instagram page

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