Calling All Models: MFW Holds First Casting By Amy Stoltenberg
MFW 2018 Promotional Shoot
On Saturday, April 14, Southridge Mall boasted a high fashion runway in the middle of its retail arena. People of all experience levels, sizes, and styles came to audition for a chance to walk in Milwaukee Fashion Week’s 2018 production.
Several designers, seated in a row at the end of the runway, were on the lookout for models who would fit the aesthetic, or mood, of their collection. Melissa Thompson, veteran MFW designer, hopes to find someone who can pull off her edgy, steampunk creations – ideally with tattoos and piercings that go along with the vibe. “I’m looking for models who look like real people, not so much your stereotypical model,” said Melissa. “They have to have the right attitude, but not too much of it.”
Still, the overall quality that designers look for is confidence. “If you believe in yourself, so will the designers,” said model Jasmyn Somarsingh, who walked in last year’s MFW shows. “Designers are looking for someone who walks with energy, [who will] bring their clothes to life.”
Positive energy is the reason why Jessica Chlopek, who drove up from Illinois for the occasion, pursues modeling at all. During the week, she is a corporate facilitator, training new hires to be call center representatives for the banking industry. But on the weekends, she models and teaches dance when she can. “It’s something that I actually do for myself, because I believe in having passion and impact,” said Jessica. “With modeling, I love that I get to help pull the vision together, between the photographer, the designer, and everybody.”
Volunteers are also a big part of what makes MFW happen, and casting calls are no exception. At the call, volunteers helped to fill in wherever needed, assisting with registration, taking headshot photos, even encouraging casual shoppers to give modeling a try. Regina Covarrubias, who has volunteered with MFW in the past, was part of the team that took measurements of candidates. This up-close-and-personal data – inseam length, bicep circumference, even neck thickness – is all part of the application process. “It’s interesting. [Auditionees] get a little quiet, a little awkward sometimes. You can tell the ones that have done it before when they’re like, ‘whatever, this is normal’,” said Regina. “I like the behind the scenes, getting everybody ready. I like the stress of it all.”
BTS at MFW 2017: Models walking for JMS Couture
The pop music and stiletto struts around the stage inevitably drew a crowd of onlookers. Hunter and Viviana, two friends who came to the mall looking for jewelry, stopped to watch. “The beautiful people caught my attention,” said Hunter. “I had nothing else to do, so I came over to watch. It’s really entertaining. I love it.”
The next casting call will be this Saturday, April 21st, at MTM agency. Everyone is encouraged to try out, regardless of background or skill level – all it takes is a little attitude.