Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2015 ran from Jan 19th to 23rd and I didn’t go to any of the shows. Not One Daln. Why? I had to prioritise and this season my London Fashion Week projects came first. I am working with two Nigerian clients, with one client, I’m doing PR for the fashion collection they are presenting during London Fashion Week. With the other, I am co-ordinating and presenting a London Fashion Week TV Special. So with that and the Marketing Communications work I am still doing for the school in Nigeria….going to the Berlin shows was not an option.
But I’m still all about the Par-Tays mainly for networking reasons and you know I love to dress up, so any excuse! So, fast-forward to my friends and I standing in the drizzling rain and me bumping into a model male friend of mine, who then introduced me to a model friend of his called, Finn Juniper Denaro. Actually, he introduced us to a whole bunch of his model friends who gave us the standard ‘blank nod and mumble’. However, one guy jumped in front of the Model Herd and introduced himself properly. That was Finn.
At the time, I remember thinking he reminded me of a new-born puppy put on skates and shoved on an ice-ring: he was just so excited as he regaled us with stories from his fashion week. I remember telling him at the time, ‘This must be your first season….’ Turns out I was right, and as we all walked away, my friends and I spoke about how energetic he was, which was a great breadth of fresh air from the usual ‘Too Cool For School (And A Smile!!)’Berliner.
The next day, despite all the work I had to do, my mind took me to Finn: I knew there was a story there. So I got his details via the friend we have in common and pitched Finn my idea- I told him I wanted to interview him and submit it to magazines. I also warned him that there were no guarantees. You know what he said? ‘Let’s do it…I’m excited!’ (New Models, Take Note…)
Fast forward to us having the interview and me having such fun as I was doing it, then came the next day, a Sunday: it wasn’t a day of rest for me, I sat on my bed with my recorder and wrote the article. Then came Monday and I began the search to find ‘my baby interview’ a home. I found one- Superior magazine. The article made their Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2015 Special (Page 70-73) If you want to have a great insight into Berlin Fashion Week, the designers, backstage…or you just want to have a visual feast of great photography, take a look!
So new models, what tips can you take from this article?:
1) Be Your Own Agent- You never know where and when your next client will turn up. Always be ready to sell yourself and your work. If Finn hadn’t told us that night on the streets what he had achieved during Berlin Fashion Week with such gusto, I would never have had the knowledge or interest to push his story.
2) Be Enthusiastic and Professional– this pretty much explains itself. In the lead up to the interview, Finn was accessible and responded to my messages on time. On the day of the interview, he was punctual, armed with infectious humour and energy. This is very important. It’s because of this, I’m referring him to the Berlin-based photographers I know. I wouldn’t (and no one else would) attach my name to a miserable, unprofessional sod!
3) Climb Every Mountain, Ford Every Stream, Follow Every Rainbow…– Yes, The Sound Of Music does have a place here! What I’m saying is, as a new model/model you are likely to be sent on many castings, get pitched for interviews, editorials, commercials etc- some of them will materialise, majority will disintegrate. However, you must approach each job like it’s ‘the one’, like it will be a success, like how Finn did when I told him the interview was not a guarantee: he said, ‘Let’s do it, I’m excited’. Yes this level of optimism is difficult, this is why modelling and the fashion industry ain’t for everybody.
4) ‘Do You’– You know the saying by Oscar Wilde, ‘Be Yourself:Everyone Else Is Already Taken’? This couldn’t be more so in the modeling industry. More and more, the models who are making ‘it’ are the ones who have personality: in the heavenly 80/90s we had The Supermodels who always looked poised and Glamazon-like, now we have Cara D and her many clown faces…anyhoo, to stand apart in the stifling modelling crowd, you need to know who you are and what you are bringing to the table. Finn knows, in seconds he’ll proudly tell you he’s ‘from the bush’, loves surfing, is passionate about social and political change…He is walking his own path and so far, so good…
As for the Fashion Karma part, well as much as I always wanted one, I didn’t get a Mentor in the fashion industry. I had to learn the ropes via stepping and falling head first into many a ‘fashion pothole’. Through it all, I’ve fought hard not be bitter, to retain the enthusiasm and hope I see/saw in Finn…that’s why I’m happy to answer his questions relating to modeling, I tell him what I know, I’ve started introducing him to the good photographers (with strong industry contacts) I know in Berlin because that is a key ingredient to making ‘it’ as a model. I wish more people in the industry could be as giving…but as the saying goes, ‘Be The Change You Want To See…’ (Gandhi)
Pictures by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, unless otherwise stated.