Decoding Fashion: A Guide to Modelling Jargon

Fashion modeling is an ever-evolving industry that comes with its own set of jargon and terminology. For those new to the world of modeling, this language can be confusing and overwhelming. From terms used on set to more technical aspects of the industry, decoding fashion jargon is essential for any aspiring model. In this guide, we will break down some of the most common terms and phrases used in the world of modeling, so you can feel confident and prepared for your next photoshoot.

Types of Modeling

Before we dive into the terminology used in the industry, let’s first take a look at the different types of modeling you may encounter:

  • Commercial Modeling: This type of modeling involves promoting products or services through advertisements. Commercial models are often seen in magazines, television commercials, and online campaigns.
  • Fashion Modeling: Fashion models work in the high-end, glamorous world of designer clothing and runway shows. They are often featured in fashion magazines and on the catwalk during Fashion Week.
  • Editorial Modeling: Editorial models are featured in magazines and editorial shoots. They often work with photographers to create artistic and expressive images.
  • Runway Modeling: Runway models showcase designer clothing on the catwalk during fashion shows and events. They must have a strong walk and be able to embody the designer’s vision.

On-Set Terminology

When you’re on set for a photoshoot, you may hear various terms and phrases that are specific to the modeling industry. Here are some common ones to be aware of:

  • Call Time: The time you are required to be on set and ready to start work.
  • Lights, Camera, Action: The cue for the photographer to start shooting.
  • Wardrobe Stylist: The person responsible for selecting and styling the clothing for the shoot.
  • Hair and Makeup: The team responsible for styling your hair and makeup for the shoot.
  • Direction: Instructions given by the photographer on how to pose and position yourself for the camera.

Technical Terms

Modeling also comes with its own set of technical terms that may be unfamiliar to newcomers. Here are some key terms to keep in mind:

  • Agency: A modeling agency represents models and helps them find work in the industry.
  • Portfolio: A collection of your best photos to showcase to potential clients and agencies.
  • Comp Card: A card that features your best photos and key information, such as measurements and contact details.
  • Casting Call: An open call for models to audition for a photoshoot or runway show.
  • Fit Model: A model who is used by designers to ensure clothing fits properly before production.

Posing and Expressions

One of the most important aspects of modeling is your ability to pose and convey emotions through your expressions. Here are some posing and expression terms you may come across:

  • Smize: To smile with your eyes, popularized by supermodel Tyra Banks.
  • High Fashion Pose: A dramatic and editorial pose often used in fashion photography.
  • Candid: A natural and unposed expression or moment captured by the photographer.
  • Editorial Expression: An intense and emotive expression used in editorial shoots to convey a specific mood or message.

Networking and Industry Events

In the world of modeling, networking is essential for building relationships and advancing your career. Here are some key terms related to networking and industry events:

  • Model Mixer: A networking event where models, photographers, and industry professionals come together to connect and collaborate.
  • Industry Party: A social event attended by models, designers, and other industry insiders to celebrate fashion and network.
  • Open Call: An opportunity for models to meet with agencies and casting directors to potentially be signed or booked for work.
  • Agency Showcase: An event where modeling agencies showcase their talent to industry professionals and potential clients.


Decoding fashion jargon is an important step for any aspiring model looking to navigate the industry with confidence and ease. By familiarizing yourself with common terms and phrases used in the world of modeling, you can better prepare yourself for photoshoots, runway shows, and networking events. Remember to stay curious, ask questions, and continue learning as you embark on your modeling journey. With a solid understanding of modeling terminology, you’ll be well-equipped to succeed in this exciting and dynamic industry.

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