Over the past month, Russian models have been featured in ads for several major brands. Most recently, Burberry and Thom Browne campaigns were released with Maria Cage, Sofia Steinberg posed for Givenechy, Daria Koshkina for Loewe, Vasilina Kiriyenko for the Bershka collection and Alesya Kafelnikova for Bulgari.
At the same time, the accounts of Russian modeling agencies are actively updated on social networks. One of the largest – Avant Models – almost daily publishes photos of new collections of fashion houses, in which their models were shot.
avantmodelsagency/Instagram (the company that owns Meta is recognized as an extremist organization)
Against the background of a general negative attitude towards Russians on the part of representatives of Western companies, there is a feeling that nothing has changed for models since the end of February 2022. He told Gazeta, “Yes, models work actively (long-term work with different clients) and directly (short-term work with one client), abroad, Vproject models” tells Alina Khaustova, the reservations officer of the international department of the modeling agency .Ru. markets: Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, USA, Korea, Japan, Thailand, China.”
Yana Shmailova, head of the Linden Staub East modeling agency, confirmed that her models are also actively working abroad. That’s right, he explains: Now destinations that weren’t popular before, such as Turkey, are now being loaded.
“For me, nothing has changed,” Elizaveta Stasenko, who worked there for about a month in the spring, tells socialbites.ca. – Russians in Turkey were treated normally. According to the stories of my colleagues, everything is fine. There are a lot of girls from Russia working in the country. There were Ukrainian women, they treated Russian girls adequately.”
However, models working in other countries are recognized: they were not openly discriminated against, but were denied work because they learned of their citizenship earlier.
During the Diesel show in Tokyo, 2022
That’s exactly what the Diesel brand did when they re-exhibited their Fall-Winter 2022/23 collection in Japan – it took place on June 9 in Tokyo. Model Polina Lomzheva, currently working in Japan, was among the applicants to work in the show. “They took the girls, I had parts for this brand, and then everything flew successfully,” he tells socialbites.ca. “I didn’t even have time to participate, and then it turned out that there is no single Russian girl on this show.”
According to Polina Lomzheva, brands in Japan generally no longer want to work with Russian models. The more famous the brand, the more carefully the cast asks questions and finds out where the model came from.
In South Korea, the situation was more severe in late February – early March. Polina Lomzheva, who later worked in this country, notes that customers became much more interested in citizenship. “If they heard the word Russia, they would grimace,” the model says. “It was embarrassing to say where it came from. And it’s still really embarrassing.”
Once they know the girl’s origin, they may suddenly and without explanation start ignoring her.
So, at one of the castings, customers liked Polina Lomzheva, a model from Ukraine, and girls from other countries. But the bookstore clarified the nationality of the models. “They wanted to give me clothes to try on but then they immediately folded and wouldn’t let me in. They ignored me – no ‘hello’, no ‘buy’, nothing. It was tasteless,” he says of what happened after that.
A model during a collection show at Seoul Fashion Week, South Korea, 2022
James Lee/Global Look Press
Now there is a demand for Russian models abroad. It is stable and growing slowly. According to the agencies, the main problem right now is sending girls and young people to work in Europe and Asia. Models fly from Istanbul or cross land borders in Finland or Lithuania.
However, due to the complexity and cost of logistics, host organizations have become more selective in signing contracts. “They want to make sure the model can afford the costs,” explains Varvara Morikova, booking at Linden Staub East. For this reason, models with a good portfolio are now more preferred.
“Competition is very high due to Covid restrictions, some markets remain closed and there is so much concentration of veteran models with a broad portfolio on existing ones that it is now more difficult for new faces,” explains Yana Shmailova.
A model during fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev’s fashion show at Zaryadye Park as part of the opening of Moscow Fashion Week, 2022
Is there a job for models in Russia? “There’s work,” says the head of modeling agency Linden Staub East, but now there’s huge competition. According to him, it is difficult to count on a stable income even in Moscow, where all the major brands and customers are located.
At the same time, Ksenia Uvarova, CEO of the Vproject modeling agency, noted a slight decrease in the market at the end of February and March. Tatyana Mikhushkina, managing director of Select Mgmt, spoke about the decline in April and May. But now, according to them, the industry is functioning normally.