I’ve been asked a few times what it’s like to be a model in fashion school. I never had a great answer to those questions because for me, being a student and maintaining a modeling career have always been two separate pieces of my life— until I realized they weren’t.

In the ski town I grew up in, I started working a lot younger than most kids. I didn’t know what I wanted in life and like most kids that end up in art school, I didn’t fit in. I started modeling because I wanted to get over how shy I was as a child.

Designers have spoken to me about their journeys, but they aren't the only creative professionals I met in my career. I’ve been in contact with stylists, fashion bloggers and journalists, photo and videographers, and make-up artists. All these people work hard to create fashion as we know it. Everything from the fashion story, promotions, and images to the designs themselves are a huge part of how we experience fashion. As a model, I worked not only to showcase the garment, but also to evoke a story, a story that would create a desire in the viewer to buy the outfit and become a consumer.

I came to OTIS College of Art & Design because I wanted to learn more about what goes on behind the camera. I wanted to find out what it takes to create the pieces of art I wear in an editorial or on the runway as well as what kind of thought goes into creating the pieces I wore for cataloges.

Being here and having a modeling background has helped me in almost every course at OTIS. I know what kind of poses to select for illustration because I had to learn them from shoots. I had to think about what pose would showcase an outfit and all of it’s design details in the best way.

Knowing about the styling process helps me when I’m designing or working on a mood board. When I listened to the stylists and MUAs talk about colors or details and accessories, I realized how important details are in design. Photographers talk a lot about the story and the mood so I know what kind of attitude to bring into my work.

The best perk about being a model in design school is that everything I make fits me. That means I can wear everything I make in class! I love having the opportunity to learn all of the behind-the-scenes work that I wasn’t exposed to previously.

Being a creative professional while being an active member of the modeling industry has helped me tremendously. I’ve learned to pay more attention in my experiences. I’m conscious of the movement of a garment. I notice the construction and fiber content. I’ve picked up on bits and pieces of branding and merchandising. All of the information I gather from my work in both fields is integrated together, and only strengthens my knowledge.

What is it like being a model in fashion school? It’s like being myself, but more observant in my own life. Majoring in fashion is just as much a part of my identity as modeling, being a musician, teaching cheerleading, or loving Mountain Dew. Just like anyone else, I have experiences and hobbies that make up who I am. Being a fashion major and modeling just happen to be two parts of who I am. So tell me what is it like being an individual in art school?

- Written by Indica Kalivoda -


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