If you’re interested in the fashion industry in any capacity, you’ve probably wondering: Why are models so tall? When you think of fashion models, you usually think of women and men who are taller and thinner than average. While beauty standards have shifted over time, allowing more diverse women and men to enter the fashion industry, height still seems to remain an important factor for models all around the world. So, why are models so tall?
As it turns out, there are several reasons fashion labels and talent agents look for taller statures when hiring models, and it’s not just based on longstanding tradition. In some ways, it makes sense that fashion be displayed on taller frames, especially when it comes to the final display.
Why are models so tall?
We’ll look at this question from various standpoints.
From a business standpoint
In a lot of ways, choosing taller models is best from a business standpoint. The taller the person, the easier they are to see on a catwalk or even while walking through a crowd. They’re better at drawing attention from a distance, successfully attracting the audience to themselves and their products. Shorter people, it’s believed, are simply more likely to be overlooked.
But even aside from visibility, it’s simply easier for fashion labels if their models are all a similar height, considering they create and tailor their clothing according to size. It’s much easier for designers to create clothing that are all the same size and then find people who can fit them rather than finding the model and then altering the clothing. It can save designers a whole lot of time and money.
From an aesthetic standpoint
Models are, for all intents and purposes, somewhat of a mannequin when it comes to showing off products. The use of taller (and thinner) women and men are meant to have a “hanger” effect — basically, showing off what the clothes would look like if you were to find them on a hanger in a store. With shorter (and curvier) models, this look becomes harder to achieve, because the clothes may bunch up and wrinkle in certain ways they wouldn’t while hanging from a taller frame. In this way, it seems logical that tall women and men would be chosen to advertise clothing.
But the aesthetics go beyond just how the clothes fit the body type. In fact, it goes back to a stereotype humans have relied on for centuries — that tall equals confident. While not necessarily true (there are certainly many shorter people who also look and feel confident), it’s simply become a fact of life in the modeling industry. The taller the model is, the more likely they are to look confident in the clothing their wearing, embodying the phrase “standing tall.”
From a traditional standpoint
From the very beginnings of haute couture, designers looked to taller men and women to model their clothing, something that hasn’t necessarily changed throughout the years. Models, often tall, thin, and waif-like, embody the traditional ideals of beauty, especially those surrounding women. These models have often been considered more appealing to the eye, making the products they’re wearing seem more appealing as well.
Of course, while models of a certain body type may always be preferred, a changing attitude toward beauty ideals and sexism within fashion are slowly changing the meaning of what it means to be a model. While it may seem idealistic to say that beauty standards in modeling will completely change over time, it is realistic to say that the fashion industry is becoming more diverse and welcoming to different body types, including those of shorter stature.