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The end of Brigitte ‘No Models’

Everybody loves a Sailor!

A little break from the New York posts: Long term readers may remember that back in 2009, I wrote about the German women’s magazine Brigitte banning professional models in favour of ‘real women’ (the original post is here, and a catch up 9 months later here). I have now discovered that they have a new editor, who has unceremoniously ditched the approach, which as recently as April was being proudly presented as a groundbreaking initiative. They’re not giving up on using amateur models completely, but they will use professional models ‘when it fits the theme’. So it sounds like they are getting ready to phase it out without anyone noticing.

There are two reasons why they’re doing it.

  • First, the women they have featured essentially looked like models, as I noted the one time I bought the magazine. They were mostly tall, slim, gorgeous and young, and less conventionally pretty women were used less frequently, and mainly in reportage type articles about careers, cooking etc. Apparently lots of Brigitte readers wrote in and complained about this, saying that the fact that the people featured were gorgeous but also held down successful professional jobs, had 2-5 kids, made them, if anything, feel more inadequate. (If you understand German, this post (written by a model) talks about this issue in some detail)
  • Second, working with non-professionals was time consuming and inefficient, because the models had to be scouted, appointments needed to be made around their real lives, and they needed to be trained.

This is basically what I was saying. Being a good professional model takes more than just being really pretty, there is skill and experience involved. And whether you are showing a diverse range of people hasn’t really got anything to do with whether said people are models or not. It’s a shame the this experiment hasn’t worked, but I’m not surprised, since the approach was quite odd and not in line with its supposed aims. I do give them credit for properly trying it for three years though!

Information about the end of the initiative and some background from here (in German). Photo source.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julia 14 September 2012, 7:24 am

    The last time I got hold of a Brigitte, I thought exactly the same thing. the first few issues without models were promising, but unfortunately, they did not keep up the good work. it would be really nice if they invested the money and time spared by using professional models on getting bigger sized clothing samples and booking professional plus size models or those few with an unusual body type.

  • Jane 15 September 2012, 11:24 am

    Interesting post. I wish some mags did that over here too.

  • A Certain Vintage 16 September 2012, 11:15 am

    i’ve never read brigitte actually but i applaud them for trying. I can see why, unfortunately, using only non professionals all the time, would be a hard way to run the magazine. I suppose its about more agencies accepting ‘unconventional’ (in an editorial sense) women onto their books!

  • FASHION TALES 18 September 2012, 5:44 am

    I only knew and have read Brigitte through my cousin who introduced it to me. Have not recently though, but remember reading about this initially. I agree, at least they tried it out. Interesting post, and the model’s piece as well.

  • Keiko 18 September 2012, 7:23 pm

    I recently discovered your blog and love reading what you write and your style. I will be here now and again.