30 Sep The next generation is challenging the Modeling Agency Business Model. Meet CONTACT and their army of outcasts.
Last year, we launched word of Texas non-binary supermodel, Fish Fiorucci, and their wave-making power moves with their starring role in the Lady Gaga beauty campaign for Haus Laboratories. This earned them a presenting role on stage at the San Antonio Fashion Awards to be recognized for this inspiring milestone in their career and to offer congratulations to 2019 Model of the Year Kai Breitbach by presenting him with the Diamond Award of Excellence. Since then, Fiorucci has been working diligently to help fashion creatives in Brownsville, Texas, and give voice to the new generation of fashion creatives who think its time to break the mold of what it means to be in the fashion industry.
Screenshot, Fiorucci with Gaga in the making of the Haus Laboratories beauty campaign
This fearless leadership, lapsed with a slew of New York Fashion Week work, combined with Fiorucci’s charismatic and experimental aesthetic has gained the supermodel gargantuan momentum and a sub-community of likeminded artists around them. So much so, that this year, even in the midst of the pandemic, Fiorucci founded and launched the first-ever, Brownsville Fashion Week (made virtual due to COVID-19) so that creatives could represent their hometown, participate in a platform, and be recognized for what they do online. Now, the fierce go-getter is aiming to change the modeling agency business and push for a new page in a genre that they feel, has not evolved enough. Everyone, get to know CONTACT, a new modeling agency that strives to break the mold. Catch our interview below.
Brownsville Fashion Week 2020 Virtual Campaign
Sponsored AD- Discover EPSON Digital Fabric Printing
SLTV: Let’s talk about aesthetics. Models have looked a certain way for so long Fish, talk to us about your frustration with these limited criteria.
FF: The criteria for fashion has always bothered me for as long as I can remember. For me, it felt like a missing piece in fashion every time I was working. It sucks having to hear that you’re “too skinny, too big, too small, too tall, too dark, too light”… It was unfortunate hearing these things from people you’ve never met before and it’s the same thing I’ve been hearing since I was fifteen! Imagine what that can do to you. Models shouldn’t have to go through this toxicity. That’s what inspired me to want to change that.
SLTV: Agreed. It feels a bit old fashioned and antiquated, doesn’t it?… This “toxicity” as you put it. I’ve always felt that all of the “too this”, “too thats” was a huge missed opportunity to create real art. As a fashion editor, I can’t tell you how bored I get from looking at what feels like, “the same girl” or the “same thing” all the time. Over and over. Year after year. Diversity is exciting! I’ve been excited to do my job again when I see something different; makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing. It keeps things fresh and is a better representation of the human species as well. I love what you have been doing. Let’s keep going. Tell me more.
Facebook post by Fish Fiorucci. Original photo of Fish by Marcus Tondo sourced at Vogue.Com
SLTV: So what are some of your frustrations with the traditional modeling agency business-model?
FF: Well one thing is for sure, models still need to be skinny, tall, and traditionally pretty to get signed here in the US, specifically Texas. Maybe the agencies are too scared they’ll lose money but to be quite honest, everyone in fashion knows that only the white girls get booked unless you’re actively politicizing your gender identity, the color of skin, and position in fashion. Some of us have to fight to be here while others are lucky enough to get by just because they’re white.
SLTV: It’s so important to voice these types of things honestly Fish, and to get it out in the open. People need to know how people are feeling and what they are experiencing. Also, your experiences are valid. It’s an opportunity to improve, evolve, and make something new and exciting. Art has no bounds. Let’s keep going.
Facebook post by Fish Fiorucci. Original photo of Fish by Filippo Fior sourced at Vogue.Com
SLTV: You’ve started your own modeling agency. What does it mean to be a “model for hire” with CONTACT?
FF: CONTACT has made it easier for people to book models for jobs. Let me explain. Forget the shitty agents who NEVER respond to your emails! Whether you’re a model who’s dealing with that or even a photographer looking to book a model but never hears back from an agent, CONTACT eliminates that. When jobs are submitted on CONTACT, models get notified too and they too get to see all the information, no hidden contracts.
Facebook post by Fish Fiorucci. Original photo of Fish by Jacob Arthur Pritchard sourced at Vogue.Com
Sponsored AD- Discover Texas Fashion Industry Initiative
SLTV: Let’s dig even deeper, how is CONTACT disrupting the traditional modeling agency mold as far as your frustration with lack of diversity and how business is conducted?
FF: Model management needs to change. With CONTACT, clients can book models of all sizes and from all walks of life. No middlemen. No funny business. CONTACT Agency has sister agencies located in 3 different countries. This not only helps expand our market but expand on diversity. That’s enough to build a whole army of outcasts and it’s as simple as that. Were all one big family with BIG personalities. Our models are as unique as your projects. True individuals with ambitions and dreams. We don’t pen them in – we build an environment where they can thrive. How? By giving control back to the models. They choose the jobs they want to do. We treat them like professionals. And we pay them on time – every time.”
SLTV: Inspired. How many models are with CONTACT now?
FF: To kick off our agency, we signed 10 models worldwide to CONTACT and F10, here in Texas. This adds to the family of over 100+ models worldwide.
SLTV: Say someone in San Antonio, Texas wanted to use CONTACT. What can they do and what can they expect as far as the pool of local models?
FF: If anyone is interested in booking models locally from Texas, you can search the name of the model you’re looking for on the website as well as see models in your area or near. Right now, CONTACT offers virtual jobs for bookings and in-person if precautions are taken. The site features over 400 models worldwide and Texas is the next big stop for fashion.
SLTV: What about models? What if they are interested in signing up with CONTACT?
FF: If anyone is interested in being represented by CONTACT, they can submit online or through any of our sister agencies. We would love to find a home for the upcoming faces from Texas. Right now, you can expect the site to be updated constantly to keep up with the demands of new faces and making it easier to book jobs.
SLTV: How do you protect the models?
FF: We protect our models by ensuring their work is with people we trust and have worked with previously. A constant check-up with our models and having office hours is extremely vital during these hard times. We’re all used to communicating face to face but due to COVID-19, most of us are working virtually to protect our health. With that being said, models can be booked virtually for jobs or with small teams of 5 or less in the US. Building trust with our models is our number one goal. We want to hear what they don’t like about fashion and what we can do to change that. It’s time to get rid of all the predators and make sure this a safe space for all.
SLTV: What do you hope your company-ethics will teach the world about this type of business and the modeling agency standards of today?
FF: Forget the standard! Seriously. There’s so much untouched beauty in this world and humans are so diverse. It’d be a shame to waste our time on documenting the same personality over and over again.
SLTV: AGREED! We can’t wait to work with CONTACT and we wish you the best of luck. Congratulations on this empowering movement!