This past September, Instagram addicts and filter extraordinaires alike were buzzing with news that Marc Jacobs was running an online, Twitter contest to cast models for an upcoming campaign. Through September 26th, hopeful models were able to post pictures for their own casting call, with the hashtag “#castmemarc” accompanying the tweet and picture. The winner would win a free trip to New York City along with an opportunity to shoot for Jacobs’s spring 2015 campaign, with renowned photographer David Sims. Following this announcement, the internet was abuzz.
However, this style of casting is neither new to the fashion industry, nor even Marc himself. Back in April of 2014, Jacobs launched the same contest on twitter and Instagram for models to compete for one of the nine spots in Marc’s Fall/Winter 2014 campaign, as long as the same “#castmemarc” was included in their caption. The contest was a clear success, bringing about 70,000 submissions and general news about the contest itself going viral, which was a win for the MJ PR team.
Similarly, DKNY launched a contest with supermodel Cara Delevingne this past June. Cara took to her favorite social media site, Instagram, where she called on all models to post a selfie to the site with the hashtags, “#CaraD4DKNY”and “#CaraWantsYou.” The lucky six chosen to model for the line alongside Delevingne are expected to be announced along with further information on the unisex line Delevingne designed with DKNY on October 16th, according to her twitter account.
Despite the popularity of Jacobs’s newfound casting calls, the very first company to begin this trend of online casting started with Asos, along with a little help from UK modeling agency Models 1. The online retailer commenced a 10-day long contest where they picked Lauren Punter out of nearly 2,000 plus-sized models who used the #MakeMeACurveModel caption to enter the contest.
However, many are critical of these social media casting calls. Many believe that these people are just given their fifteen minutes of fame, even somewhat taken advantage of, as this could be Jacobs’s way of using free PR and advertisement to find cheap, practically free labor. However, some speculate that Jacobs is calling on “fresh-faced” and “authentic” looks, but in all actuality choosing real professional models when it comes time to complete the job, somewhat taking advantage of this call for more natural looks and realistic standards in the fashion industry by making the contest seem as though it is open and welcome for all.
Could this be the future of model? Many must rejoice in these one-sided casting calls, as a way to avoid the humiliation and rejection of being turned down or criticized in person. While it may be likely that the models themselves are merely experiencing a moment in the spotlight, it is likely that social media casting calls are here to stay.
Jennie Bell is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.