The Origin, Evolution and the Future of Modelling

The Australian Supermodel of the Year Blog: The Origin, Evolution & Future of Modelling

From its humble origins to its evolution into the current state as a dynamic and inclusive field, the world of modelling offers both challenges and opportunities.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • The Evolution of Modeling
    • 2.1 Origins of Modeling
    • 2.2 Changes Over the Decades
    • 2.3 Modeling Today
  • The Future of Modeling
  • Aspiring Models: 10 Essential Tips
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Introduction to Evolution of modelling

Modeling is an industry that has undergone remarkable transformations over the years. From its humble origins to its current state as a dynamic and inclusive field, the world of modelling offers both challenges and opportunities. In this blog, we will delve into the fascinating journey of modelling, explore its evolution, and gaze into the future to understand where this industry is headed. Whether you’re an aspiring model or simply curious about this captivating world, there’s something here for you.

The origin of modelling can be traced back to ancient civilisations, where individuals were used to depict gods, heroes or important figures in various art forms, including sculpture, painting and literature. However, the modern concept of modelling, as we understand it today, primarily emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

2.1    Origins of Modeling:

  • Artistic Modelling: In ancient Greece, sculptors often used live models to create realistic sculptures. Likewise, painters in various historical periods utilised models to capture the human form accurately.
  • Fashion Industry: Modelling as a profession began to take shape in the mid-19th century when clothing designers started using live models to showcase their creations to potential customers. Charles Frederick Worth, a Parisian fashion designer, is often credited with popularising this practice.

2.2    Evolution Over the Decades:

  • Supermodel Era: The 20th century saw the rise of iconic supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. This era emphasised the importance of personality and brand power in modelling.
  • Diversity and Inclusivity: In recent decades, there has been a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusivity in the modelling industry. Models from various ethnic backgrounds, body types and genders have gained prominence.
  • Digital Age: The digital age transformed modelling with the advent of social media and online platforms. Models can now build personal brands and careers independently of traditional agencies.

2.3    Modeling Today:

  • Diverse Representation: The industry now embraces a broader definition of beauty and seeks to represent a diverse range of backgrounds and body types.
  • Social Media Influence: Models use platforms like Instagram and TikTok to build their personal brands and connect directly with fans and clients.
  • Sustainability: There’s a growing focus on ethical practices in fashion and modelling, with eco-friendly and sustainability gaining traction.

Future of Modeling:

  • Inclusivity: The industry will likely become even more inclusive and representative of diverse cultures, genders and abilities.
  • Sustainability: Sustainable practices will continue to play a significant role in the future of modelling.
  • Virtual Models: With advancements in technology, virtual and AI-generated models are becoming a part of the industry.

Tips for Aspiring Models:

  • Build a Portfolio: Invest in professional photos to create a strong portfolio.
  • Networking: Establish connections with photographers, agencies and other professionals in the industry.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with fashion trends, industry news and emerging designers.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Focus on physical and mental well-being to sustain a modelling career.
  • Professionalism: Approach your work with professionalism, punctuality and a positive attitude.
  • Rejection is Part of the Game: Don’t be discouraged by rejection; it’s a common part of the industry.
  • Agency Representation: Consider working with reputable modelling agencies for guidance and opportunities.
  • Diversity Matters: Embrace your unique qualities; diversity is celebrated in today’s modelling world.
  • Online Presence: Create a strong online presence on social media to showcase your work.
  • Continuous Learning: Attend workshops and classes to improve your skills and knowledge about the industry.


As we continue to explore the evolution of the modelling world, we find ourselves standing at the crossroads of history and innovation. The modelling industry, born from the desire to showcase fashion and style, has evolved into a diverse, inclusive and exciting realm that embraces uniqueness and authenticity. With its rich history, ever-changing dynamics and promising future, modelling continues to captivate the hearts and aspirations of many. To all the aspiring models out there, may these insights guide you on your path to success, and to everyone else, may you continue to appreciate the artistry, diversity and stories that modelling brings to life.

Here are 10 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about evolution of modelling:

1. What is the origin of the modelling industry?

The modern modelling industry, as we know it, began to take shape in the mid-19th century, primarily in the fashion sector. However, the concept of using live models for artistic representation can be traced back to ancient civilisations.

2. How has modelling evolved over the decades?

Modeling has evolved significantly, from the era of supermodels like Cindy Crawford to the current emphasis on sustainability, diversity and inclusivity. The digital age and social media have also transformed the industry.

3. What is the significance of diversity in modelling today?

Diversity is now a crucial aspect of the modelling industry. It includes representing a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, body types and genders.

4. How has the digital age impacted modelling?

The digital age has revolutionised modelling, enabling models to build personal brands and careers independently of traditional agencies through platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Technology has also allowed models to utilise virtual platforms to reduce the need for extensive travel, contributing to a more eco-friendly approach.

5. What is the future of the modelling industry?

The modelling industry is expected to become even more inclusive and will likely include virtual models, as technology advances. Sustainability and ethical practices will continue to be significant.

6. What are essential tips for aspiring models?

Aspiring models should build a professional portfolio, network with industry professionals, stay informed about ethical and sustainability trends, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

7. How can aspiring models embrace diversity?

Aspiring models should embrace their unique qualities as diversity is celebrated in today’s modelling world

8. How does the modelling industry contribute to sustainability?

The modelling industry is increasingly embracing sustainability by promoting eco-friendly practices, ethical sourcing of materials and environmentally responsible fashion events.

9. Why is diversity important in promoting ethical modelling practices?

Diversity plays a pivotal role in ethical modelling as it ensures fair representation, fosters inclusivity and challenges industry standards that can be exclusionary.

10. What are ethical guidelines for aspiring models in the sustainable era?

Aspiring models should align with brands that prioritise sustainability, promote eco-friendly products and practice ethical values.

11. Can ethical modelling and fashion coexist with profitability?

Yes, ethical and sustainable modelling is a growing market, demonstrating that sustainability can coexist with profitability while making a positive impact.

12. How can ethical models use their influence to drive positive change?

Ethical models can advocate for sustainability, environmental responsibility and ethical practices in the industry, influencing both brands and consumers.

13. What role does fair labor play in sustainable modelling?

Fair labor practices ensure that models and all workers in the fashion industry are treated ethically, from safe working conditions to equitable wages.

14. How do models contribute to reducing waste and promoting responsible consumption?

Models can support responsible consumption by working with brands that offer sustainable products and promoting long-lasting, quality items.

15. Is sustainable modelling just a trend, or is it here to stay?

Sustainable modeling is not a passing trend. It is a fundamental shift in the industry, reflecting changing consumer values and global environmental concerns.

16. How can ethical models inspire their followers to embrace sustainability?

Ethical models can educate their audience on sustainable choices, environmentally friendly brands and ethical fashion, inspiring followers to adopt responsible consumption habits.

Modeling agencies act as intermediaries between models and clients. They help models find job opportunities, negotiate contracts and provide guidance in building a successful modelling career. Working with an agency can help you access a wider range of opportunities and professional support.

There are several types of modelling careers, including fashion, editorial, commercial, runway, fitness, petite, street, modest, plus-size and activism modelling, among others. Each category has its own requirements and target audiences.

To start a modelling career, you should begin by creating a portfolio with professional photos. Attend open casting calls or send your portfolio to modelling agencies. Building a strong online presence on social media platforms like Instagram can also help you gain visibility.

Fashion models typically need to meet certain height and body size requirements, which can vary among agencies and markets. However, the fashion industry has become more inclusive in recent years, with opportunities for models of diverse body types.

While professional training and modelling classes can be beneficial, they are not always necessary. Many successful models have learned on the job. However, training can help you refine your skills and improve your chances of success. It is also a great way to network and create a sisterhood.

To avoid scams, research modelling agencies and individuals thoroughly before signing contracts or paying fees. Be cautious of anyone asking for upfront payments or promising unrealistic success. Seek advice from experienced models or industry professionals.

Personal branding is crucial for models in the digital age. Models can use social media platforms to create and promote their unique brand, connecting directly with fans and clients. A strong personal brand can lead to more opportunities and endorsements.

A healthy lifestyle is essential for models. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep and effective stress management. Maintaining mental well-being is equally important, so seeking support when needed is encouraged.

Models may encounter challenges like intense competition, rejection and inconsistent income. Maintaining a positive attitude, resilience and adaptability are key to overcoming these obstacles.

The modelling industry has become more diverse and inclusive in recent years, embracing models of various ethnicities, genders, sizes and abilities. This shift reflects a growing recognition of the importance of representation and inclusivity in the fashion world.

Professional modelling cards that showcase your portfolio and contact information. They are usually handed out to clients, agents and industry professionals.
Challenges in Modeling; In the exciting world of fashion modelling, aspiring models encounter various challenges on their path to success which include tough competition

About the author: Kal

Kal Kalim is a fashion photographer, brand strategist and communication designer based in Melbourne, currently working on fashion, beauty & educational projects in Bali & India. He has been working on projects creating strategies, campaigns, content and communication for fashion and beauty brands in Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, France & South Africa for the last two decades.