On the surface, my fascination with menswear may appear haughty and superficial but at its most basic and uncovered core I am intrigued by its ability to be none of the above. In an industry where the most influential designers and photographers are males, menswear receives much less praise than does its female counterpart. And why is that? Menswear does need the pomp and celebration that womenswear puts on—despite the fact that the majority of women will never see fit to wearing their designs. What makes menswear and its blue chip boys so elegant is the absence of the constant competition and cattiness found in womenswear. This absence is translated into the clothing which appears not only effortless and suave, but as works of art that can be taken directly from the runway to the street and worn with “comfortable sophistication”. What most people do not realize is that no one in the fashion industry is more humble and healthy looking than a male model ;). The laid back environment of both the show and the collection are translated onto the models which allow them to enjoy what they are wearing and thus they create an aura of pleasant sophistication.
And now, as Men’s fashion week spring/summer’13 comes to a close I am sure we all wonder what life is really like for the models that walk them. Whether they are strutting down the catwalk to the tune of “No Church in the Wild” while donning hip hop inspired apparel—see Frankie Morello ss’13—or simply relaxing backstage while their hair, and yes, makeup gets done we must step back and ask ourselves....WhAt ARe ThEsE DuDes rEaLly LiKe?!
Rest assured, not every male model is a Zoolander searching for every opportunity to strike that Blue Steel pose. Instead most of them are in school or simply taking the time off to enjoy the wonderful opportunity the fashion world has, in their eyes, randomly graced them with. To really get a glimpse inside the life of a male model, I interviewed the Belgian beauty: Pieter Roziers.
At 21 Pieter finds himself studying architecture, a choice that occurred after his brief stint with civil engineering proved to lack creativity. With this, he finds himself currently entranced by drawing and painting, which are mediums he often uses for his classes. Outside of school, Pieter always find the time to hangout with his friends, party, and enjoy his favorite music. He cites Converge, Trashtalk, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Foo Fighters amongst his diverse list of favorites which spin around hard core, electronic, and rock. When discussing his hometown of Leuven, Belgium one thing comes to mind: Beer. For those of you who haven’t seen the “From Belgium with Pride” commercials, you are missing out on the most attractive beer commercials, in my opinion, ever made. I am speaking of none other than Stella Artois brewed in a place Pieter calls home: Leuven.
But, on to what everyone wonders about models in general: how were they discovered? Pieter was fortunate enough to have been scouted twice; the first time he was stopped by a man while shopping at a mall in Antwerp with his mum. The man handed him his card asked to snap a few pictures, and encouraged Pieter to contact him. However, at the age of sixteen Pieter was a volleyball star in the making with three major games a weekend. Bottom line: there was no time for modeling. Fast forward to December of 2010, while attending a Soulwax—an alternative rock, punk, acid band from Ghent, Belgium—concert, he found himself being scouted by the same guy. Two months later, Pieter finally decided to give it a try so he went to the agency and stumbled into his first test shoot in April. He has now been a full-fledged model for over a year and is represented by ULLA in Brussels (his mother agency), VNY in New York City, Nathalie Models in Paris, and ELITE Model Mgmt. in London.
As previously mentioned, the menswear industry is generally very laid back— peep this fun montage: Boys of Fashion Week Spring/Summer'12 by Justin Wu. Because of this the models often have the freedom to express themselves on the catwalk in order to promote the attitude evoked in the collection. Take Frankie Morello and Dsquared for example, run by a fun group of guys, their shows are the ones the models look forward to the most. Whether they are playing the 50’s schoolboy or the gigolo on the beach, these shows always promote humor and youth. Among Pieter’s favorite modeling experiences, he cites the spring/summer’12 collection from A Child of Jago which featured a Rock n Roll vibe where the models were free to promote a badass attitude.
Looking into the future, Pieter hopes to travel to New York City and Tokyo: “big cities are a special atmosphere.” But in the meantime, Pieter uses fashion week to reunite with his model friends—Matthew Bell, R.J.King, Milo Spijkers, Ward Malfait, and Lessandro Reyniers— who see every show as a big hangout.
Follow Pieter on twitter @PieterRoziers or check out his tumblr: http://pieter-r.tumblr.com/
For more male model diaries: