LCF Loves You: Street Casting

Street cast models outside the BA12 catwalk show.
Street cast models outside the BA12 catwalk show.

Diversity is at the heart of sustainability.

Celebrating the diversity of our community, London College of Fashion pioneered the practice of street casting for models in 2011. We love diversity and uniqueness and we want to see more of it in the fashion industry.

At the College we know things are changing and we’re not willing to wait, our students are the fashion industry of tomorrow. We say homogeneous fashion images are for the faint hearted. Our street-cast models help us to create events and editorials that are alive, vibrant, and diverse, and reflect how much LCF loves fashion and the people who make it happen.

Rob Phillips on Streetcasting

How did LCF streetcasting come about?

Streetcasting is something we started in 2011 in an attempt to expand the modelling world to reflect greater diversity and to better represent our students’ work with stronger identities that would fit the clothes being made. We wanted to see more ethnicity and culture and we were also looking for characters who could personify the students’ designs, so we started looking outside of the professional model agencies.

How does streetcasting challenge stereotypes?

The whole thing is about not conforming to any industry standard in our catwalk shows and in fashion photography. In modelling there are two standard mannequin sizes which are both relatively small, but in 2012 we did a whole lingerie range with plus size models and in 2010 we used older models in their 60s. Challenging stereotypes shows how powerful fashion can be in focusing on individual identity.

How else do you find models for student shows?

I travel around continuously looking for people who could model and ask them if they’ve thought about modelling. I’m in a position to do that because I work with the photographers and am always thinking of the students and who could model their designs. Now I have a team of people who find models for me because we need 500 people for photo shoots and catwalk shows.

So what is the streetcasting event on February 22?

We ask people to register in advance and then invite them to an event and audition them through practicing catwalk routines and having their photograph taken and then we draw up a final list of models we can bank for the future. We also advertise through social media channels. Whatever your look is, we want to meet you.

We are looking for people regardless of their size and height but applicants must be 18 years or older and currently not signed to any professional agency.

Why do people take part in streetcasting?

Some people think of it like an X Factor audition and really want to be on a catwalk. Others are trying to find their own identity and modelling gives them the confidence to do it, or they can build their portfolio to approach professional agencies. But many want to support education and to be part of a change. They feel their look or identity is something not represented in fashion and want to change that.

Rob Phillips is the Creative Director for the School of Design Technology; he started streetcasting at LCF in 2011.

Projects featuring street cast models

Undergraduate School of Design and Technology Annual 2013
HyperNatureSuperHuman: The ‘Design Against Fur’ project
Saga Furs project 2012