Why has high fashion/modelling lost so much prestige in the late 2010s?

Before 2018-2019, being a (runway) model and the likes was equivalent to other Tier 1 industries, such as Actress/PE MF/Tiger Cub HF/NFL/NBA/NHL. 

But ever since VS cancelled their uber-prestigious Angel line and the likes of Gymshark and Calvin Klein started allowing fatties, deformities and troons to model to be "inclusive" (more like Gymwhale amirite), modelling has lost a great deal of its prestige.

Gone are the days of the likes of Adriana Lima dominating their respective niche in high fashion. Today we have to put it simply, unattractive women (or MTF troons) on billboards, runways and advertisements. And even if they are attractive, they're likely TikTok or Instagram influencers who are too short, don't know how to walk or have an inappropriate body type (hip dips, wide ribcage).

I'm glad to be working in PE MF, one of the few prestigious industries left.


Hey anglosaxonchad, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I am sad to say, but this thread is lonely, so thought I'd post in here to try and help out. Some potential topics that might help:

More suggestions...

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

My gf works in this field, and the times have changed.

You should have seen the campaigns of the 80s and 90s, before we were born. The women were literally hand picked for the photo shoots.

In today's world the consumer wants to identify more with the product and the average customer does not look like a model. They follow certain people on social media who present a more street style look and that works best. It's a combination of new distribution channel/referral marketing and much better logistics around ecommerce.

The large brands still run high end campaigns though, and the catwalk is still a thing.


In today's world the consumer wants to identify more with the product and the average customer does not look like a model. 

Is that actually true though? Is it truly what the customer thinks or what society has decided the "customer" thinks? I am sure some people feel this way... but the whole point of a 'model' is that it's what one would aspire to be (i.e., so and so is my role model). Just my two cents. 

Most Helpful

I agree with you, but the market might not.
What looks good on a haute couture model won't be a fit to the average man or woman, especially in a more sedentary world/WFH.

Who do you connect with more? Some tall, incredibly chiseled and attractive guy who nobody will ever copy? Or that youtuber or some user online who embodies more of your interests, hobbies and career aspirations? The average guy is never going to look like jordan barrett or David Gandy, regardless of how much you work out. And if you buy the clothes they are selling, your looks aren't really going to be the same? My finance colleagues are more into fashion than me, but I can honestly say they don't look like any of the models online.

The catwalk and the fashion shows still exist, but they have lost out a bit on the huge amount of time consumers spend on other media channels. There is a reason why Victoria's Secret canceled their shows. People today prefer following tik tok videos and youtube stars rather than watch fashion TV (an actual channel in Europe).  A decent amount of users do follow these models on social channels though.

I still purchase the clothes the supermodels are showing off, but I don't spend much time with their catwalks, videos, or fashion channels.

And not to forget: women spend a lot more time, money and decisions around fashion, make up, hair, et al than men. And collectively, with the market and the companies, they have decided that there has to be more diversity in advertising these products.
It could be a short, chubby barbie doll, more high end make up for African American ladies, or a shirt that is focused on a different cut.


All good points, with the exception of the VS show which has been mentioned multiple times in this thread. First, the fashion show is coming back this year and while it may not have the razzle dazzle and focus on the Angels as it did previously, it's back nonetheless. The show was largely canceled as a result of actions committed by Ed Razek, former CMO, who had close ties with ol Jeff and was incredibly tight with Les. Over the last 10/15 years of his tenure at the company, he had numerous complaints to HR about his behavior and was known for his hand selection of models for the show. Furthermore, in an interview with Vogue he made some pretty awful comments about the trans and plus size models and their place within the show. 

In any case, this isn't a history lesson on VS but figured I could add more color to the narrative of the show's cancellation. 

Good points though in your post, you're not wrong about a lot of things. While I may think that Tony Romo is more relatable in terms of looks, doesn't mean that Tom Brady isn't objectively much better looking but that's another moot point. 

My quick and dirty take of what happened to the models OP talked about... The internet ruined them, like it has ruined many other things.


Dicta fuga laborum sit atque. Saepe ipsum qui culpa dolorem. Autem voluptas possimus iste consectetur ut. Assumenda et ut harum eaque quia quia vel facere.

Career Advancement Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Goldman Sachs 19 98.8%
  • Harris Williams & Co. New 98.3%
  • Lazard Freres 02 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 03 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.8%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 03 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.8%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (19) $385
  • Associates (86) $261
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (13) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (66) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (205) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (145) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
Secyh62's picture
BankonBanking's picture
dosk17's picture
GameTheory's picture
kanon's picture
CompBanker's picture
Linda Abraham's picture
Linda Abraham
numi's picture
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”