Fascinating book about the behind-the-scenes workings of the modeling industry. In college, I briefly dabbled in modeling, though more of the 'commercial' and 'promo' type than the high fashion that Mears' work sought to investigate. I found her very candid accounts and quotes from insiders to be unfiltered and honest, though confirming my own observations that as a model, one is really commoditized and reduced to her (or his) parts. In terms of the distinction between 'editorial' and 'commercial' models, I think her explanation and comparisons of the dichotomy between the two worlds was very thorough...the trade-off between prestige and financial security is a common theme, not only in the modeling world, but throughout many other industries as well. When asking various people in the fashion industry about the lack of diversity (both in terms of racial and size), Mears received a myriad of comments echoing that the lack of diversity was caused by inadequate supply of models (per designers and photographers), inadequate demand for certain types of models (from bookers). It is no wonder that diversity is still difficult to come by when viewing images in Vogue, or catwalk stills on a website. However, I do think the situation is changing; Mears' book came just a few years too early to catch the social-media wave which propelled more diverse models such as Ashley Graham and Barbie Ferreira to fame. There is still a long way to go, and Mears' book confronts an uncomfortable topic head-on.
Ashley Mears has researched the complex fashion world from the perspective of an insider, the results are brilliant and revealing. Equality is a universal concern, but research has mostly focused on the dispossessed and marginal groups, now we have access to the top of the pyramid in a lucid academically sound analysis. Commodified women, the luxury fashion industry and its complex ecology. Highly recommended.
A well-thought out and very interesting analysis of the Modeling industry, with applications to Entertainment in general. Provides some glimpses into "behind the scene" but the approach is that of a dissertation. I feel those looking for an intellectual look at how beauty is monetized will be pleased. Those looking for a light "day in life of fashion model" will be disappointed.
This book gives you a behind the scenes look at the modeling industry. Thought it's certainly not the first book written on the subject, where it differs from the others is that it takes a more scientific approach to the subject delving into the sociological, economic and psychological aspects of the industry. If you're in the industry, or are very interested in it, this book is a must read.
The book examined all angles and brilliantly articulated what most in the fashion industry know but cannot communicate. Anyone outside of fashion can enjoy and benefit from this read, Ashley applies the narrow topic to a much broader scope/context.
Ashley Mears does an outstanding job of detailing the hidden realities of modeling within the fashion industry. For someone as young as her, her debut is impressive in its research and scholarship. She makes the case persuasively and successfully of how beauty is packaged and commodified in the "cultural economy of today". Her contribution is monumental in giving a serious study of a field dismissed by the larger society as frivolous and light. To the contrary, there is a great deal of ingenuity, creativity, and buisness within contemporary fashion.