6 Key Takeaways From DFW’s Spring Model Workshop

Photo by Michael Hameister

Models from the Denver area came to refine their craft at this season’s Denver Fashion Week (DFW) Model Industry Workshop.

Get your DFW tickets here

The workshop, which traditionally involves a brief presentation and interactive runway practice, took on a new structure this season. Denver Fashion Week’s Creative Director David Rossa and Co-Producer and Social Media Director Lauren Lippert joined Runway Producer Nikki Strickler to provide a well-rounded look into the model industry.

Together, the DFW team provided attendees with valuable advice on casting, photoshoots, social media, and posing. In other words, this season’s workshop equipped aspiring models with a toolkit to succeed in a competitive industry.

Here are some key takeaways from the workshop.

1. Attitude Is Everything

Whether it’s at a casting call or an all-day photoshoot, a model’s attitude can not only set the standard for how well the job goes, but it can also help models get offered more work in the future.

Throughout all three presenters’ talks, each one emphasized the importance of bringing uplifting energy to castings, shoots and shows. Not only is a positive, open-minded outlook crucial to making long days less excruciating, but it also helps to establish a model’s reputation as pleasurable to work with.

“Your presence should speak for itself,” Strickler said.

As such, models should plan to come to casting calls with a bare face, washed hair and clean nails. They should be open-minded to the energy that the brand is looking for and be transparent about any major appearance changes they’re planning in the future.

Above all else, however, confidence is an invaluable trait that each model should bring to both casting and shoots. However, this confidence cannot be at the expense of maintaining a humble, open-minded attitude. A confident model who listens and takes directions from their creative directors and photographers is essential to industry success.

2. Let Your Social Media Speak For You

Lippert instructs models on how to maintain a genuine and professional social media profile.

As the social media director for 303 Magazine, 303 Magazine Fashion and DFW, Lauren Lippert knows a thing or two about managing a digital presence. As Co-Producer for DFW, she also has an insider’s perspective on what a casting director may look for when choosing models to work with.

As such, Lippert advised models on the importance of maintaining a genuine yet professional social media presence. While models’ social media accounts should showcase their professional portfolio, Lippert emphasized the importance of letting personality and values shine through online.

3. Crediting The Team Behind The Photoshoot Is As Important As The Shoot Itself

Though the model is often the only face seen in the final product, the effort that goes into a successful shoot or show takes a large team. When posting your professional portfolio on social media, models should always credit photographers, hair and make-up artists and any other professionals that contributed to the shoot.

By tagging these artists in posts, captions and stories, models can give due credit to those working behind-the-scenes, it also helps other models to find photographers and see their profile of work.

Failing to do so, according to Lippert, is not only disrespectful to the hard work that goes into these shoots and events — it also may leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who weren’t credited, affecting the model’s reputation down the line.

If a model is unsure who they worked with, however, it’s not the end of the world. At the very least, Lippert advised workshop attendees to try their best, “Make an effort.”

4. Get To Know The Industry Through Networking

Rossa shares his insights on networking with industry professionals.

Having been with DFW from the very beginning, David Rossa is an expert at model etiquette and how to be successful in the industry. As such, Rossa shared his insights on how to effectively get a foot in the door of a competitive space.

Rossa advised attendees to attend as many fashion events as they can and volunteer with shoots and shows as a way to network. It is through attending these events and getting an inside look into how they operate that models can successfully make powerful connections and find opportunities to collaborate with other local industry professionals, while also getting your face, name and — most importantly reputation — out into the Denver fashion world.

5. Practice Is Crucial To An Effective Runway Walk

Strickler demonstrates common model stances to workshop attendees.

While instructing workshop attendees in achieving the perfect model stance and runway walk, Strickler acknowledged that, at first, these model basics may feel uncomfortable. Rest assured, however, that practicing the model stance and runway walk will help models lock in when it’s time to perform.

“Runway is muscle memory,” Strickler shared.

As such, by practicing these basics until they feel natural, models can teach their bodies to push through the discomfort — and it’s also key to a consistent and powerful model stance and runway walk.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Nikki Strickler (right) and David Rossa

Use your intuition, learn to read the room and — above all else — don’t be afraid to ask questions. Uncertainty is a confidence killer and it also may lead to friction on the day of the photoshoot or fashion show. As the team explained, many industry professionals would rather answer questions from models than deal with the rockiness that comes hand-in-hand with confusion.

However, asking questions extends beyond the actual shoot: Strickler, Lippert and Rossa all advised the models to trust their guts when scheduling work. Asking questions will not only help models be on the same page as their photographers and creative directors, but it also helps models stay safe in an industry where you often have to talk to strangers to get work done.

“If it feels too good to be true, it probably is,” Strickler said.

All photos by Michael Hameister.

Get your DFW tickets here.

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