The Fashion Launcher

By Caroline Slattery

“Black is the new black” is the title of an article on the Harper’s Bazaar website that describes New York’s Spring 2013 collections. Clearly, trends repeat and reinvent themselves in fashion. So when the clothes are static, who makes us believe in them? Where does new talent emerge?

Fashion editors and other insiders display their own and others’ skills in magazine editorial content designed to keep fashion exciting. Most of the talents are freelanced, so their work shows up across many media platforms. However, for each talent to get a job, he or she needs credible work. Freelancers often get that first credible job at Teen Vogue, “The Fashion Launcher.”

Models are one such element in fashion that creates this dynamic. The right model can bring life to clothes in a way that a hanger never could. Teen Vogue has launched the careers of numerous models. Specifically, Lara Bonomo, the bookings director, is credited for having a special eye that can determine the “next faces of fashion.”

In The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion, Bonomo shares what it’s like to discover new models:

“The best part of my job is being able to launch new faces, girls whom no one has seen before, but who I know who will have big careers. Agents tell me that clients—like major fashion houses looking for models to cast in their ads—will ask, ‘Has she done Teen Vogue yet?’”


Photo credit: Women Management Blog “The many Polaroids hanging in Bonomo’s office”

Photo credit: Women Management Blog
The many Polaroids hanging in Bonomo’s office

Bonomo has been bookings director at Teen Vogue since the start of the magazine in 2003. She receives credit for launching the careers of models Gemma Ward, Ali Michael, Jessica Stam, Karlie Kloss and Caroline Trentini. Often, a model not only makes her debut in Teen Vogue, she also learns to trust her photographers and stylists and to discover new tricks for editorials.

Trentini shares how Teen Vogue was her Fashion Launcher. “Shortly after I did the Teen Vogue story…my career took off. I started appearing in Marc [Jacob]’s campaigns, which led to more editorials, in Vogue and Italian Vogue.”


Photo credit: Vogue Galore tumblr “Trentini jumping in Vogue”

Photo credit: Vogue Galore tumblr
Trentini jumping in Vogue

Conor Kennedy is the founder and president of New York’s Muse Model Management.  He says when he scouts for models, Teen Vogue is going to be the goal because it’s known as a launching pad.

“When you’re meeting girls,” Kennedy says, “you think, ‘Does she have the potential to work for Teen Vogue?’ because that’s going to be the beginning stages of her career.”

Models are not the only people in fashion who help reinvent trends. Photographers are a crucial component as well. Without the photographer’s vision, fashion wouldn’t catch the imagination of its followers. Teen Vogue loves to take a chance on new photographers and help them start their careers.

Jennifer Kim, photographer director of Teen Vogue, says she loves to meet photographers who don’t have a name yet. Kim adds that she often compares potential contributors to Patrick Demarchelier, the influential French fashion photographer who was also Princess Diana’s personal photographer.

Photo credit: Demarchelier’s work in Teen Vogue

Photo credit:
Demarchelier’s work in Teen Vogue

Last, but not least, stylists have an obvious role in the way sartorialists see trends. They manipulate the clothes themselves. Susan Walsh, assistant to stylist Tony Irvine, says fashion editors create a bridge between fantasy and realism to keep clothes exciting.


Photo credit: Irvine’s work in Teen Vogue

Photo credit:
Irvine’s work in Teen Vogue

Walsh adds that Teen Vogue has a natural evolution…as a Teen Vogue reader graduates to reading Vogue, he or she may also graduate from buying T by Alexander Wang to Alexander Wang. The “starter magazine” ignites a spark in readers to be fashion devotees for life.

In general, Teen Vogue launches reader interest in fashion, which results in brand interest, directly perpetuating a love for clothes. The magazine can help launch the careers of models, photographers, stylist and more. The Fashion Launcher is willing to take risks on new talent, and it is rewarded with great results. So even when “Black is the new black,” fashion-goers have something to look forward to. As Teen Vogue itself puts it, “Fashion starts here.”

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