Accessories: Items, such as earrings, or handbags, which are used to enhance a wardrobe.

Advance: Money provided to a model prior to the completion of a contract. Often agencies will advance airfare or accommodations to a model as an incentive for that model to work with that agency.

Advertising Agency: A company, which oversees the direction of an ad campaign. Normally they are responsible for the hiring of photographers, producers, art directors, etc.

Agency: A company, which promotes models in exchange for a commission on the model’s earnings. Agencies usually develop their models by recommending quality photographers and helping to educate the model about the business.

Agency Fee: The fee an agency charges a client. This is different from the “Model’s Fee” which is the amount deducted from the model. An agency fee is usually added to the total billing of a job.

Agent: A person who helps arrange contracts and establishes contacts to aide in the promotion of models he/she represents. It should be noted that the agent works for the model and not the other way around.

Appliqué: The perfect way to do pretty, appliqué is every designer’s go-to when they want to create an artisanal effect. It’s especially prolific in couture.

Art Director: One who works on the set of a photo shoot to develop the overall image of the finished product.

Assignment: A job for which a model is hired. Also called a booking.

Beauty Shot: Generally a headshot, or close-up of a model, showing her/his true features. The makeup is very natural and light. The wardrobe is plain, and the background is simple and non-distractive.

Billing Form: Models use this to record the details of a particular job. Details include time started and finished, the client’s name, and associated costs.

Blocking: The portion of a fashion show rehearsal where runs are choreographed. It involves deciding where models will be placed on the ramp for aesthetic and lighting purposes.

Blow-up: An enlargement of a photograph to be used in a model’s portfolio.

Body Girl: A model that is promoted more for bookings that involve a stellar figure.

Book: A model’s portfolio.

Booker: An agency employee who negotiates rates and other details for models’ bookings.

Booking: An assignment or job related to modelling.

Booking Conditions: The provisions of a booking, which specify the terms under which the model will work. If a model is required in the booking conditions to work overtime or to wear lingerie, it often means the model will be paid more.

Booking-out: A model giving notice to her agency of times she is unavailable to work is said to be “booking-out” for that period.

Boxy: Most commonly seen on jackets, a boxy-cut lends an androgynous element as silhouettes remain undefined.

Buy-out: A lump-sum payment given by a client to a model/agency instead of residuals on an ongoing campaign.

Buyer: An employee of a store or boutique that is charged with purchasing clothing from designers. These clothes are then re-sold in their shops.

Callback :

A second, or occasionally, third time a model meets with prospective clients. Usually callbacks are a strong indication a model is getting serious consideration.

Cap Sleeves :

A sleeve that sits in between sleeveless and short.  A flattering cut as it elongates arms and covers shoulders.

Casting :

An interview/audition whereby models are viewed and considered for an upcoming assignment.

Casting Director :

An individual charged with overseeing the selection process of a casting.

Catalog/Catalogue :

A category of print modelling, which involves models displaying products with the goal of making the products desirable to consumers.

Cattle Call :

A large scale casting where models are quickly reviewed and very little interaction occurs between those doing the casting and most of those being seen.

Catwalk :

Another term for the runway used in fashion shows.

Change Sheet :

A large cloth put on the floor of a change room during a fashion show to protect clothes. It is also called a drop cloth because often during quick changes, clothes are dropped quickly so a new outfit can be put on.

Character Model :

Character Models can be found in all kinds of campaigns. Generally they either play they role of a well-known personality (such as Santa), or exude such personality that you can’t help but notice them. Being attractive is not a requirement for being a character model. Being memorable is.

Check-In :

The time each day (or possibly twice a day) when a model is expected to contact their agency. The agency then gives the model his/her daily agenda of castings, go-sees, etc.

Checker :

The person backstage at a fashion show who checks the outfit and model prior to them entering the runway to make sure all the details have been attended to.

Chromes :

Seldom used in the age of digital photography, “chromes” is another name for “slides” (the product of slide film).

Client :

The person, group or company that hires models.

Closed Set :

An area open only to those involved in the production of the image. Those usually allowed on set are the model, photographer, the photographer’s assistants, the art director and necessary stylists. Closed sets are primarily used for shoots requiring privacy.

Collection :

A designer’s series of garments designed for a specific fashion season.

Commentary :

The spoken part of a fashion show as it relates to the clothing, designers and other relevant connections to the show’s theme. Commentary is generally reserved for mall shows, charity shows or trunk shows.

Commercial :

A division of modelling generally reserved for less of a high-fashion feel. It is usually more casual and relative to everyday living.

Commercial Print :

The photographic use of a model’s image to promote a product or service.

Commission :

The portion of a model’s earnings retained by their agent/agency.

Comp :

A card or sheet featuring one model’s pictures. Usually a comp will show the model’s most marketable looks. Also called a composite, comp card, zed card or sed card.

Comp Card :

A card featuring one model’s pictures. Usually a comp card will show the model’s most marketable looks. Also called composite, comp, zed card or sed card.

Composite :

A card or sheet featuring one model’s pictures. Usually a composite will show the model’s most marketable looks. Also called a comp, comp card, zed card or sed card.

Confirm/Confirmation :

When a client and a booker agree on terms, this is a confirmation. All the details are taken care of and the model is assigned to that particular job.

Conflict :

This term refers to advertising campaigns that are similar in product or message. Usually clients will not want a model that has done a recent campaign for their competition. It is the client’s responsibility to inform an agency of the product and campaign. It is then the agencies responsibility to ensure there are no conflicts.

Contact :

A signed agreement stating the conditions under which an arrangement will occur.

Contact Sheet :

A photo paper sheet that displays the images from a roll of film. It gives those selecting pictures a chance to preview the images before deciding which prints to blow-up. Also called proof sheets. Increasing, digital versions of contact sheets are being used for sharing large numbers of images ahead of the selection process.

Contract :

A signed agreement stating the conditions under which an arrangement will occur.

Creatives :

Unpaid photoshoots where – in theory – the model, photographer, stylist, and other artists on set have an equal contribution to the final image. Although the model does not pay for the shoot, she/he generally does pay for any prints they choose for their portfolio.

Digitals: Digital snapshots taken of a model, usually with no makeup, and wearing a swimsuit or something flattering to the figure. These images are shared with clients or agencies in other markets, to show how the model looks in a more informal setting and (should) involve little to no retouching.

Direct Booking: An arrangement in which the model is brought into a market for one booking.

Dirndl Skirt: A full, wide skirt with a tight, fitted waistline. Popular with Fifties-inspired collections, it originates from the traditional German ensemble that also comprises a bodice, a blouse and an apron.

Dress Rehearsal: A run-through of a fashion show before the actual event.Dress rehearsals give models a chance to get accustomed to the clothes, shoes, choreography, tempo and other variables that can affect the presentation.

Dressers: Backstage assistants at a fashion show who ensure the proper care of clothing and assist the model with changes between runs.

Dressing Room: The backstage area of a fashion show where models prepare prior to the event, and get changed between sets.

Drop Cloth: A large cloth put on the floor of a change room during a fashion show to protect clothes. It is also called a drop cloth because often during quick changes, clothes are dropped quickly so a new outfit can be put on. Also known as a change sheet.

E-card/E-comp: A composite card designed specifically for marketing a model on the internet.

E-Card/E-comp: Online Z-Card.

Editorial: A category of modeling or photography referring to projecting mood, opinion or storyline into pictures. The term editorial is very vague in definition.

Epaulets: A decorative shoulder adornment. Usually found on military uniforms and trench coats, an epaulet lends an air of authenticity to replica styles.

Exclusive: An arrangement between a client and a model that specifies the model works only for that client unless that client allows the model to work on other projects.

Expense Form: A sheet retained by models to keep track of relevant modeling expenses for tax purposes.

Extras: On-camera bystanders in a motion picture, commercial, or other visual media. Models often are hired in these roles to create a certain image for a scene/scenes.

Fashion District: An area of a city where fabric shops, designers, clothing boutiques and often modelling agencies are located.

Fashion Model: A model primarily used in the displaying of clothing and/or accessories.

Fashion Photographer: A photographer who is defined by his/her collection of work for models, magazines, catalogues or other fashion images.

Fashion Show: A staged show featuring models displaying clothing for the purpose of showcasing certain fashions.

Fashion Week: The week when the collections are shown in fashion markets. Larger markets often have fashion weeks in different seasons. The fall collections may be shown in the spring fashion weeks.

Fee: The amount agreed to be paid to a model for bookings.

Figure Model: A model hired because of a stellar or unique body. Figure models are primarily used to display swimwear, lingerie, active wear or other tight-fitting or revealing clothing.

Filigree: Ornamental work of fine wire, usually in silver or gold, with the addition of tiny beads.  

Fit Model: A model around whom clothes are designed and/or constructed.

Fitness Model: A model with a well-toned, muscular body. These models are featured in such magazines as Muscle and Fitness, and Men’s Health.

Fitting: A time prior to a booking when a model tries on fashions to ensure a proper fit.

Flat Rate: A fee established prior to a booking, irrespective of time and conditions.

Freelance: To seek out work without agency representation.

Full-length: A photo showing the model from head-to-toe.

Gaiter: A piece of fabric worn over the shoe, extending to the ankle or the knee.

Glossy: An 8×10 black and white photograph, generally of the model’s face only. It is used for marketing the model in acting roles.

Go-see: An 8×10 black and white photograph, generally of the model’s face only. It is used for marketing the model in acting roles.

Guarantee: A minimum dollar amount an agency will assure a model will earn for modeling under that agency’s representation. Guarantees are most common in places like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Jouy Print: A white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern, depicting a detailed scene, appears.

Knife Pleat: A sharp, narrow fold.

Layout: The way in which photos, text, logos and other visual matter is presented on a printed sheet (magazines, catalogs, comp cards, headsheets, etc).

Leg Model: A model with exceptional legs used for advertising such things as nylons, footwear or shavers.

Lettuce Hem: The result of fabric being stretched as it is sewn, resulting in a wavy hemline.

Line: A designer’s particular collection for a certain fashion season.

Loading: An additional amount paid to a model following the completion of a booking. The loading is paid for the use of the model’s image beyond the scope of the original campaign.

Location: In photography, meaning anywhere other than a studio.

Look Book: A designer’s promotional booklet to show off a season’s collection to buyers.

Loupe: A magnifying tool used to enlarge images on a contact sheet.

Major markets: Cities and regions where the majority of modeling work is done.

Mandarin Collar: A small, close fitting and upright collar.

Mannequin: A common term in France for a fashion model.

Mannequin Modelling: Standing nearly still while displaying selected fashions as to give the impression of a store mannequin.

Market (noun): Regions where a certain amount of work is done.

Market (verb): To attempt to generate interest in.

Minibook/Mini-portfolio: A smaller version of the model’s portfolio which agencies send off to prospective clients in advance of a model’s travels.

Model: One whose image is seen as desirable and/or unique, and is contracted to draw attention to themselves and that which they are displaying.

Model’s Release: A form that is signed following the completion of a booking or photoshoot. The model signs this to allow the client the use of his/her image.

Model’s tote: A bag usually carried by models to their bookings containing tools required to complete the assignment. Items included may be Static Guard, a sewing kit, a makeup kit, extra shoes, and various kinds of undergarments.

Modelling Agency: An business that exists to promote models in exchange for a fee or commission.

Mother Agency: A Model designates one agency to be their “Mother Agency.” The mother agency helps develop the model and is charged with negotiating contracts with agencies in other markets on the model’s behalf.

Neats: Small socks with evenly-spaced designs.

New Face: A model just starting in the industry, or new to an agency.

Nude Model: A model that poses without clothes.

Ombré: A gradual change of one shade from dark to light (also referred to as degradé).

On location: Away from a photographer’s or client’s studio.

On set: At a photographer’s or client’s studio.

On stay: An extended period where a model stays in a market that is not their home, making themselves available to a variety of clients.

Open Call: The time an agency sets aside to meet with prospective models without scheduled appointments.

Option: A client’s request to “hold” a model for an upcoming campaign. A client may have first, second, third or lower options on models, depending on their campaign and which other clients have made earlier requests for the model.

Overtime: The time a model spends on the set beyond the negotiated period. Overtime normally requires a higher rate of pay.

Paperbag Waist: A loose, pleated waistline that gives the impression of a scrunched bag when gathered at the waist.

Parts Model: A model that possesses something exceptional, such as hands, legs or teeth, which can be used for specialized types of advertising.

Petite Model: Generally regarded as models under 5’7″ (170 cm), and possessing a small frame.

Photo Movement: The process of moving from pose-to-pose in front of a camera.

Photo Session/Shoot: A scheduled time for the taking of photographs.

Plus-size Model: Generally regarded as models that wear a dress size of 10 or more, possessing a larger frame.

Portfolio: A book, containing a model’s best work from photo shoots or tearsheets. The portfolio is used to show to prospective clients, to showcase a model’s diversity and experience.

Potential: A term used in conjunction with evaluating a model’s ability to succeed.

Press Show: A fashion show put on by a designer to introduce media to their new line or collection.

Pret-a-porter: Ready to wear. (French)

Print: A photograph. The standard size to fit a model’s portfolio is 9″ x 12″.

Print Modelling: Any type of modeling related to the publishing of still photographs

Proof Sheets: Another term for contact sheets.

Props: Items used in conjunction with a set to enhance to overall image of the picture.

Seam: In sewing, the place where two pieces of fabric are joined. This creates a more or less visible line on the surface of a garment. Many different kinds of seam constructions are used, depending on whether the seam is a decorative element of the design, the kind of fabric used, or how much stress is placed on the seam. The following are several of the most commonly used seam types. Plain seam is made by placing the right sides of two garment pieces together and sewing the seam on the underside of the fabric. When the pieces are opened, the seam will be on the inside of the garment. Some type of seam finish may be needed to prevent the seam from raveling. Many plain seams are made on a machine called a serger that uses a looping stitch to cover over the edges of the seam and keep it from raveling. Flat felled seam or a simulated flat felled seam is often used in sturdy blue jeans. A very durable seam, it has a double row of stitching that holds the seam down. French seams are used on very sheer and delicate fabrics and require several steps in which a seam is sewn on the right side of the fabric, then the right sides of the fabric are placed together and another row of stitching is made that encloses the original seam.

sew by: The sample garment prepared by a contractor who will be making this type of garment for a manufacturer. The manufacturer can then compare the apparel produced by the contractor to see if its quality is comparable to that of the sample.

shibori: A method of ornamenting fabric by stitching and forming gathers in the fabric before it is dyed. After dyeing, the stitching is removed and the crinkled areas released. The areas protected from the dye by the stitching and gathering absorb the dye in irregular patterns characteristic of these fabrics.

shift: A basic dress style that has simple, straight lines and does not fit close to the body. Very popular in the 1960s and in other periods when unfitted styles are popular. One innovation in this style in the 1960s was the incorporation of a diagonal dart running from the side seam to the bustline. In comparison, a sheath is a simple, straight, but fitted dress in which vertical darts, bust darts, and shaping from side seams provide the fit.

signature bag: A handbag, considered a status symbol, that has the signature, initials, or logo of a high fashion designer or company, printed in an allover pattern or placed strategically on the bag so it is visible. Counterfeit copies of these bags are often sold by street vendors.

sourcing: Determining where textiles and/or apparel can be obtained, and how and when this will be done. In the global economy, sources may be domestic or international.

soutache braid: A flat braid, generally rather narrow. Applied in rows or, more often, in complex ornamental patterns to decorate ares of a garment.

spangles: Decorative pieces, usually made from metal or plastic, that have a hole through which they can be sewn to a garment. Sequins, which are usually round and fairly small, and paillettes, which are larger and made in different shapes, are the most common types of spangles. They are often combined with beads in decorating evening dresses, handbags, and other accessories.

sportswear: Originally used to refer to clothing for active sports, and later to clothing worn to watch sporting events, this term has come to be applied to the broad category of casual wear and is worn at any time of the day and for a wide variety of activities. Today the term activewear is more likely to be applied to clothing for active sports. Sportswear is considered by many to be a major contribution of American design to clothing styles world wide.

stitch-bonding: Often classified as a nonwoven fabric, stitch-bonded fabrics are either networks of yarns or fiber webs that are held together by sewing or knitting through the base material. The first such material was trademarked in East Germany under the name of Malimo. Techniques for making stitch-bonded fabrics include laying warp and weft yarns across each other without interlacing and then using a sewing or knitting stitch to hold them together, sewing pile yarns to a woven or knitted base, and sewing a web of fibers together. Such fabrics can be used for apparel, household textiles, and industrial textiles. They have price advantages over knitting or weaving in that they require less yarn or fiber and can be produced more rapidly.

stock keeping units (SKU): An inventory management and record-keeping term in which items are assigned to a particular unit that the retailer wants to track. All items in one SKU would be identical in style, color, size, or other characteristics. For example, a polyester gathered skirt, size 12, in navy blue would be assigned to a different SKU than the same navy blue polyester skirt in size 14.

stock on hand: The retail items currently held at the retail store or other outlet and available to sell.

Talent: The performing side of modelling, as in acting, singing or dancing.

Tears: Pages from magazines or other printed matter featuring the model’s image in circulation (as opposed to prints from photographers). Tears are used as proof that a model has experience and the ability to work well. Also called tearsheets.

Tearsheets: Pages from magazines or other printed matter featuring the model’s image in circulation (as opposed to prints from photographers). Tearsheets are used as proof that a model has experience and the ability to work well. Also called tears.

Tests/Testshoots/Testing: Photoshoots that the model does to increase the amount of shots in his/her portfolio. Tests are normally done to give the model a different look than what can already be found in his/her book, thereby showcasing the model’s diversity.

Tests/Testshoots/Testing: Photoshoots that the model does to increase the amount of shots in his/her portfolio. Tests are normally done to give the model a different look than what can already be found in his/her book, thereby showcasing the model’s diversity.

Three-quarter length: A photograph consisting of the model’s head, torso, and any area below the waist, but above the ankles

Time-for-Prints (TFP) / Trade-for-Pic: An arrangement where a photographer agrees to give a certain amount of prints to a model in exchange for her time spent posing.

Tote: A bag usually carried by models to their bookings containing tools required to complete the assignment. Items included may be Static Guard, a sewing kit, a makeup kit, extra shoes, and various kinds of undergarments.

Trade Show: A show geared towards a certain segment of the population, containing booths and displays. Models are often hired as hostesses and spokesmodels as a way of attracting attention to one of competing displays.

Trompe L’Oeil: An artistic technique where realistic imagery is used so to appear three dimensional.

Trunk Show: A collection from a single designer, which generally travels to selected stores that retail that designer’s clothes. Small-scale fashion shows are then presented right in the store, before the collection moves on.

Unitard: A skin-tight garment that covers the body from the neck to the wrists and ankles.

Usage fees: Similar to residuals, in that models are paid extra depending on the amount of times their image is used in conjunction with an ad campaign.

Vent: A split in a garment to allow for movement. Common in Forties silhouettes and pencil skirts. Also found on trench coats and formal tailoring.

Voucher: A form signed in triplicate at the completion of a booking. The voucher verifies the times and conditions of the completed booking. One copy is kept by the client, one by the model, and one by the agency. These forms are then used for billing purposes.

Wardrobe: A model’s collection of clothing.

Weather Permit: Conditions related to the weather that may affect a booking and payment for late cancellations.

Welt Pockets: A pocket set into the garment with a slit entrance, as opposed to a patch or flap pocket.

X-ray Fabrics: Sheer fabrics with a translucent effect.

Yoke: The part of the garment around the neckline on the front and the back.

Zed card: Another name for comp card or sed card.