Foreign Runway Models as Celebrities

The national love of Agyness Deyn
01 April 2008
High-fashion magazine Spur is obsessed with familiarizing readers with the hottest foreign models
After the dust settled last week, organizers of Japan Fashion Week proudly touted that the number of foreign reporters in attendance had greatly increased from the previous years. The actual foreign reporters, however, all seemed to be much more interested in the Tokyo Girls Collection event that took place on March 15 as JFW was wrapping up. And who can blame them? While 19,100 attended JFW events over a week, almost 22,000 young female fans lined up and paid to attend the single TGC concert/fashion show/party. JFW planners scoffed at the idea of integrating TGC's low fashion pop-fest into the collection week, but clearly, Tokyo Girls Collection has proved itself much better at capturing the actual passion that mass consumers feel towards the fashion world.

A straight comparison between JFW and TGC is unfair, however. Designers, clothes, and brands are hardly the core reason behind TGC's success. The main attraction for those rabid young fans who turn out twice at year at TGC is the chance to see their favorite magazine models — like Karina (from Ray), Jun Hasegawa (from ViVi), and Miki Arimura (from JJ)  — in person. The celebrity draw most likely outweighs any simple desire to view and purchase clothing, which can be done later at home. With this in mind, the high-fashion world may not just have a problem proving its relevance to the general public in terms of clothing and dress: they have no proprietary personalities to attract fans.

spur cover

Best-selling high-fashion title Spur, however, may have found the solution to this conundrum: creating recognizable personalities out of foreign runway models. Of course, Spur uses Western Caucasian models for all of its fashion shoots (Japanese models would not add the right air of "luxury" or "exclusivity"), but since last year, the magazine has become much more aggressive about familiarizing its audience with the hottest foreign catwalk models. First, Spur did a few in-depth profile pieces on recently-crowned supermodel Agyness Deyn — using her as a key face for the magazine and also providing lots of off-work shots to give readers a glimpse into her unique personal taste.
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