Model Terminology: Words and Phrases You Need to Know
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The fashion industry is like many others and has its own model terminology and phrases that might sound alien to you if you’re new to the business.
Here, we’ve listed a couple of words you’re likely to come across often in the world of modelling. They will be useful to know if you’re an aspiring model, so keep this page saved or make a note of any phrases that are new to you – this breakdown is bound to come in handy!
Also known as a composite card, comp card, or SED card (pronounced ‘ZED’ – named after card maker Sebastian Sed). These cards are used by models to help promote them. They are the size of a business card and will have the model’s details on including their name, agency and measurements. The card will also have a few of the model’s modelling photos on there. They are handy to keep in your bag or purse at all times and can be used to network.
A model’s portfolio is a vital tool that all models own. It’s essentially a folder, usually A4 in size, that contains up to 20 of the model’s best modelling photos. A model’s portfolio must accompany them to auditions for jobs. Many models also choose to have an online version of their portfolio, known as an e-folio.
A booker is someone who works at a modelling agency. Their job is to book and schedule a model’s work.
A casting call is another term for an audition for modelling work with a modelling agency or brand. You need to be invited to a casting call.
Sometimes, there are “open” casting calls; this means you don’t need to be invited and can instead turn up with a selection of other hopefuls for a chance to be signed.
Also known as a cattle call, a go-see is a sort of mass audition where many of aspiring models can turn up to a job or modelling agency in the chance of being noticed or selected for work.
Stats is short for statistics. In the world of modelling, this usually refers to a model’s stats – aka their body measurements, height, dress size and personal data.
A commercial model is any model that doesn’t work in high fashion. A commercial model can be any gender, height, and age. They are required for brand advertisements.
High Fashion Model
High fashion models work in the premium sector of modelling. They walk catwalks and work for the most expensive brands. Requirements are very strict and the industry is extremely competitive. High-fashion models tend to become household names and make the most money.
A supermodel refers to a high fashion model who has had an incredibly successful career. The term was made popular in the 90’s when high fashion models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell suddenly became household names. Supermodels make the most money and are very in demand.
A contact sheet is a printed out sheet with all the photos taken from a roll of film. Photographers like to use these because it makes selecting the best photos easier.
Shoots and high fashion spreads seen in magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar are known as “editorial”. These usually feature high fashion models.
French for high fashion.
A look book is a collection of photos showcasing a model wearing a designer’s new clothing line or range. This lookbook is then sent out to special customers, buyers, clients and fashion editors so they can see the new season’s looks.
A headsheet is a poster or brochure showing all the model’s an agency has signed. The headsheet is shown to clients so they can select which model’s they wish to work with. The headsheet usually features a headshot of each model along with their modelling stats.
A headsheet is not commonly used anymore as most agencies feature their models on their websites.
A mother agency refers to the agency to first discover and sign a model.
A mini book is a mini version of a model’s portfolio (typically 5 x 7 inches). They’re not commonly used nowadays as most agencies showcase this information on their websites.
A tearsheet is a page torn from a magazine or catalogue that features a model.