Cliques in the Industry

Regardless of what industry you are in, there are cliques and groups, each with a different purpose and mission. With the creations of various groups, such as Pursuit of Portraits or even The Hub, it can feel like everyone is in a group and making these groups feel cliquey. As someone who is very shy myself, I’ve often felt like it’s hard to get to know the people in such a large group. Here’s what I’ve learned about the cliques in the fashion industry:

Cliques in the industry can both help and hurt you as a model. It’s important to network and build friendships while still staying as neutral as possible to make new friends. Navigating the fine line in a surprisingly political industry can be tough, but if done right can make your career last longer and prove to be more fruitful.

Pros of Cliques:

  • Cliques help you find a close friend group you can get to know very well. This will also allow you to all grow together and learn from each other. Through this close friend group, you can show eachother new talent and connect in a closer and more trusting way.
  • You will have a stronger and more loyal following on social media. Cliques oftentimes share followers and will be more active on your social media, sharing images, asking their followers to follow you, etc.

Cons of Cliques:

  • When you’re with a clique you run the risk of isolating industry professionals due to beefs between other people in your group and that individual. This can cause tension between groups themselves and a lack of communication and collaboration between your clique and another clique.
  • Cliques or groups usually have a common theme or style, so being a part of a clique could potentially pigeonhole you to only one style. A good example of this is Pursuit of Portraits. Most people who shoot for their group only specialize in portraits, building their experience in Portraits due to their group, but not breaking out from that theme. By only shooting one style, it could limit other bookings or how potential clients see you because your book is not as diverse as they’d like.

For all groups, both friend and otherwise, you can find a happy balance and be a part of cliques in the industry while maintaining open friendships and a unique and diverse book. Building a strong sense of community is important, but being open to including everyone and squashing beefs is more important. When everyone is united and getting along, cliques will run smoother and people won’t feel as limited to who they can shoot with and their style they have to stick to. Keeping an open mind is the most important part of the industry, not just for shooting, but also for joining groups and making friends. Make sure to attend networking events that aren’t within your comfort zone and clique. Don’t feel limited or limit yourself by sticking to one style and staying with one group of friends. And always be nice to everyone, regardless of who they are currently, since everyone can grow and learn.

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