BY KIMBERLY KARIATI
RUNWAY and commercial male model Delroy Demarco Manuel says COVID-19 has robbed the sector its glitz and glamour.
Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Manuel said the fashion and modelling industry can only come out of the woods if it starts hosting events while adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“The fashion and modelling industry’s inability to host shows due to COVID-19-induced lockdowns means less opportunities for models and this has been a major strain on models’ finances,” he said.
“Modelling has turned out differently without models showcasing fashion designs with a live audience cheering them on. Without fashion shows and a live audience, the fashion and modelling industry will never be the same.”
Manuel said fashion shows needed to start happening as they not only allowed different designers and models to sell their brands and increase publicity, but also helped them gain confidence.
“There is no longer joy for the audience and the entertainers. With runway shows, it is not only about the clothes and entertainment, but the whole show experience. The live audience brings to life all the hard work and effort put by the designers, show producers and models,” he said.
“More virtual shows should be done streaming them across more social media platforms. They can also be done where a limited number of people can have access while giving those at home a chance to stream the shows live. Social media is a big tool that can be used to push such movements.”
Given the COVID-19 effects, Manuel said he had resorted to social media to advertise his brand and connect with fashion bloggers and influencers.
“I have faced several challenges while trying to make a name in the modelling industry. I have had to go the extra mile just to reach out to the right links to endorse me. Some links were not direct, but I had to be patient and eventually I got through to them,” he said.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would literally go door-to-door with my portfolio in my hand visiting brands and companies. Social media has now become a major tool in pushing my brand worldwide. It has been a journey finding jobs online and doing interviews in order to spread my work.”
Manuel said his modelling journey had not been that rosy.
“I have experienced ups and downs, but vision and focus have kept me going and brought great brands, designers and photographers to my doorstep. I am grateful that I have grown from the time I started in 2014 after being signed by Top Model Zimbabwe.”
- Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari