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12-06-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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The Asian Model Phenomena

The Asian Model Phenomena

Below – Vogue China September 2007 by Greg Kadel featuring Stephanie Shiu, Du Juan, Mackenzie Hamilton, Emma Pei

You might have noticed over the last two years that there is a generation of Asian Super Models showing up in Western Fashion Capitals and this is a first.
In the past, model Agencies in New York, Paris, London in Milan were representing only one or two Asian girls, but recently their presence is becoming flagrantly obvious.GAP & Benetton come to mind here.

Asian models were always present in their domestic market but breaking through in to western market countries is a first for them. We can determine that they are becoming the next big thing when you start seeing them outside of their region. They used to only be featured as representative of their community in Gap and Benetton ad campaigns. But they now are featured as super models in the Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue US editions, Vogue Paris and recently Vogue Portugal of November and December issues, featured Asian Models on its cover.

DevonAokiIn the recent generation of super models the American Devon Aoki represented by One Management in NY opened the way for Asian Super Models. She started at the age of 13 and she is unusally short for a model 5′5! She comes from a unique mix of Japanese on her Dad’s side and anglo-saxon from her Mom. What a unique face!! You might also remember the fantastic Russian model Irina Pantaeva from ten years ago. She is another example of how often mixed cultures render some of the most beautiful of physical features.IrinaPantaeva-by-Michael-Thompson

This rising new generation is coming from Japan, Korea and of course China. After the wave of Brasilian models and Russian models, I think the Asian models will endure for a long time. This phenomena is not due to the whimsical decision’s made by a Fashion Designer or an Editor-in-Chief of an influential internationally recognized fashion magazine. It has more to do with the new chessboard of the world economy, sales and advertising revenues. Shangaï is the place of choice to conquer by the luxury brands, who have been hit by the economic crisis. China is giving access to 10 million+ Chinese earning more than $25,000 (considered as the Chinese elite) and 300 million+ burgeoning Chinese middle class. A tempting prospect. The middle class has little knowledge of western luxury brands nor its codes of elegance, but is eager to discover them.

Ten years ago Moscow was the place to be where the big fortunes were and Vogue Russia was the most profitable magazine of all the editions of Vogue, due to good advertising revenue earnings for the magazine. Now China, Korea (The case of Japan is different as for years it was the only country in the region where luxury brands were installed. However Japan was hit by the crisis as well) are the places of great growth potential. In this gloomy market for luxury brands and classic press that need the advertising revenue, these new markets may hold the key to their sustained growth. More than ever as magazine sales are dropping and advertisers are cutting their budgets in western countries this strategic shift in course is a no brainer.

I am quite certain that the coming explanations that will be used by the luxury industry and the press for this geographical paradigm shift will have nothing to do with the economic conditions as it might be considered vulgar to jusfity their actions for economy reasons only. So look out for a sanitized version for their market shift.

The facial features of Asian Model are perfect for fashion designers and the cosmetics industry. Chinese models look like dolls with round small faces with generally long necks and esthetically pleasing body proportions. Asian models silhouettes correspond perfectly with the sketches that designers render for their creations.
Although Liu, Du and Sun, are internationally appreciated, to most Chinese people they are far from “beauties.” Liu declares “My outstanding characteristic is that I don’t have a strong characteristic. I’m like a piece of blank paper, you can paint it any color you want.” Both Lu and Li were considered not just “average” but actually “ugly” by many Chinese people. Maggie Mao, fashion editor from Grazia magazine, concurs that tiny faces are essential. “It (a small head) is a must,” she says. “As a matter of fact, you don’t necessarily have to have perfect facial features because there are always makeup tricks.” Top models must be tall, thin and leggy and have tiny heads with “palm faces,” so small they can be covered by an open palm of the hand. This goes to show that you don’t have to meet older ideas of perfection to become a model. In fact, perfection doesn’t sell so well.(1)

Asian Models will increase in their visibility in western countries because of the new shift of economic power towards China. If India becomes the new rising market tomorrow, there is a very good chance that more and more Indian models will be featured in western magazines.

The bottom line is this: It is the economy that is imposing the ethnic diversity that is featured in the press and luxury ad campaigns. Social and economic trends have always been closely tied… Follow the money!

Written by: Frederique Renaut

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Last edited by benjikan; 12-06-2009 at 03:06 PM.
12-06-2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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interesting blog post. do you take many pictures of asian models?
12-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
interesting blog post. do you take many pictures of asian models?
Another Big Fsh on this forum does..... and does a damn good job...... well they might night be models.......but the pics are AWESOME.....
12-06-2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
interesting blog post. do you take many pictures of asian models?
Actually yes. In fact I started using Asian models way before they were the flavor of the month, back in 1987 for L'Officel Magazine. Did a RAW B&W story.

Here is a sampling.

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12-07-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
Although Liu, Du and Sun, are internationally appreciated, to most Chinese people they are far from “beauties.”

Written by: Frederique Renaut

Benjamin Kanarek Blog Asian models… A rising generation of super models
We have long had the same phenomenon ("phenomena" is plural) in reverse here in Japan, with resident Western men marveling at the white women who range from Plain Janes to outright bow-wows who manage to get modeling gigs here.

Japanese men are likely to rate a white woman as more attractive than her white male counterparts. And similarly white men are likely to rate Japanese women as more attractive than do Japanese men. Any long-term foreign resident of Japan can tell you that the percentage of drop-dead gorgeous Japanese women steadily declines the longer you're here. I've seen newcomers go ape over girls who aren't particularly any more attractive than any others, and who in some cases even the most charitable assessment would rate as only "average".

That also works in reverse, with foreign men who could bluff a buzzard off a meat wagon back home managing to pull poon like Errol Flynn over here.....a phenomenon which has long made Japan a popular destination.
12-11-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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too bad they couldn't find better looking ones... especially the one on the left

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