By Natalia Zurowski
The Chinese modelling market is changing and with it has come a new set of poses for models to learn. Five years ago, clients in China liked when models would do "big poses" to show off the client's clothes as well as to showcase their posing abilities - bigger was better. Today, clients and studios have begun to change direction in what I argue is a positive and progressive move for Chinese fashion.
Taking cues from fashion heavyweights like Prada and Miu Miu to top retailers like H&M, J. Crew, and Zara, Chinese clients have started to take a more simple approach towards their branding and advertisements. Although Chinese clients have always attempted to copy European advertisements and campaigns, the style has changed to a more paired-down aesthetic with a strong focus on minimalism. One of the most notable changes has occurred in posing.
The style of posing and photo shoots have changed for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is due to the influx of e-commerce clients, such as Taobao (China's largest online retailer), as opposed to print catalogues. This has led to a stronger emphasis on showing how the clothes normally look, hence the need for minimal posing. The older style of posing doesn't work as well anymore, especially for larger clients. Some will even refer to the older style poses as being cheap and dated.
Another reason for the change has been the international success of Guangzhou label Mo&Co. The company was founded by Jenny Kam in 2004 and has since catapulted into becoming one of the country's top fashion brands. Mo&Co's success can be attributed to its ability to appeal "to a new generation with its edgy [and] fashionable essentials [...] featuring contemporary silhouettes, innovative details, and natural fabrics[...] inspired by modern French style," according to the SCMP. In addition, their campaigns are simple and clean and feature top models and photographers, such as Freja Beha Erichsen and Karim Sadli, respectively. Clients at jobs will frequently reference the brand because they aspire to attain the same level of international success.
Although China is changing, it still has a long way to go. For every progressive client, there's at least five more whose idea of fashion still consists of an over-teased, crimped pompadour, smokey eyes, and what may be the most unflattering lighting possible.
Nonetheless, the focus on natural, cool, and simple posing has become the biggest trend to hit the market. There are still older clients who prefer the traditional style of posing, but the following poses have started to take the forefront.
Natural - Relaxed, easy, poses have become the main style of posing for all the clients. Even for pajama or lounge wear, clients want models to look natural and relaxed, sweet and with a small smile, not too big. Save the big smile if the client asks for it, or you can ask them.
Little/small pose - A hand on the hip or in a pocket, looking off to the side or down - very simple movements. Some clients don't even want you to to touch the clothes, like the lapel of a jacket, so keep your hands to your side or in a pocket.
Zara pose - The new "it" style of posing for very many fashion clients. The focus here is on small poses with little movements and not always looking at the camera.
Stand straight - Just stand straight and move your arms a little bit or occasionally cross your legs - although some clients may be very specific about keeping legs straight the whole time. This can become repetitive or exhausting but you can also show a range of facial expressions.
Walking pose - Walk straight towards the camera or to the side/45 degrees. Good when showing the movement of clothes like a skirt, dress, or jacket.
Lazy/Relaxed pose - More laid back and chill, think bohemian or grunge style editorials and look books with an air of effortlessness. Eyes can be soft or closed. Relax your shoulders.
Cool pose - Usually combined with either big pose or lazy pose.
Big pose - A leg up here and there for good measure or both arms at the waist are you typical big poses but be careful to not rely on them. Show variations in your poses, but small ones. Don't throw you arms around too much. It's all about angles.
Elegant pose - Keep your fingers and hands dainty and feminine. The goal is usually to look ladylike and "expensive." A small smile or "smize" is okay as well.
Sweet pose - Cute and flirty. Don't over exaggerate your poses. A sweet smile is usually requested but don't be afraid to play around with facial expressions.
Accessories - If you have to hold a bag and it's not the main focus of the shoot, make sure it doesn't cover the clothes. Keep it casual.