It's raining backpackers
Once sneered at as a flakey profession, modelling is starting to be seen by young Australian men as a potentially lucrative short term career option/sideline to tertiary studies. And, at the very least, a great way to see the world after school.
Most will never quite catch up with their female counterparts in terms of earning capacity, but more and more Australian men are now appearing on the bi-annual menswear show circuit in London, Milan and Paris and booking high profile international fashion editorial and advertising campaigns.
Australian model agents, accordingly, are not only furiously scoping out new homegrown talent, they’re also tapping the infinite reservoir of young international travellers who head to Australia each year.
Late last year Felix Reiss from Germany was scouted at Coles Kings Cross and recently opened the Dior Homme show in Paris.
Another case in point is Florian Pöting, also coincidentally hailing from Germany.
Currently staying in a backpacker hostel on Sydney's northern beaches as part of a gap year down under before returning to commence Psychology studies, the six foot tall 19 year-old was spotted on Sunday by Work Agency director Helena Vitolins at a Collaroy bus stop.
Vitolins, we note, doesn’t even have a men’s division at the moment - and has not had one for at least six years. But she signed Pöting almost immediately. Frockwriter loves the fact that after taking her card, Pöting first called home to canvas the issue with his folks, who recommended he try modelling out.
For the time being, he will be the only male model represented by Work Agency. In the space of a week, he has done several castings.
“He’s got this beautiful, short, cropped blonde hair and it’s just quite a change from the hipster/top bun/bearded look - he’s just so fresh and beautiful and strong” said Vitolins, who is now thinking of scouting more male talent.
“I think we should do it” she added. “I think the guys are doing really, really well in Australia. It’s a very interesting part of the industry. The fashion industry in Australia is more proactive with men’s fashion now, we didn’t really have a men’s fashion business [before]. I think there’s a lot of interest, especially with all those gorgeous boys who have gone overseas and done really well. There is quite an awareness now and it’s looked upon as a career for a man. Even just the fact that there are so many labels that are doing menswear, from Bassike to County Road, even Witchery and the high street. There seems to be so much more available”.
What exactly is the benefit to an Australian agent in being the first to scout and sign any model, regardless of their country of origin?
Ten percent of all future earnings anywhere in the world, as that model's "mother agent", is the answer. And just to clarify, that's a percentage that is taken out of the other booking agents' commissions. So for example, if an agent in Paris books a gig for a model who was scouted and first signed in Australia and takes a 20percent cut, half of that commission goes to the mother agent who discovered the model.
ALL IMAGES: LUKE DUBBELDE. SUPPLIED EXCLUSIVELY TO FROCKWRITER BY WORK AGENCY