Swipecast, "Tinder" For Fashion Models, Is About To Change The Booking Game
We've all heard the stories how top models were "discovered": They were scouted at the mall (Karlie Kloss), at McDonalds (Gisele), or on a corn farm in Illinois (Cindy Crawford). While these days, a new face is just as likely to be discovered on Instagram, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Now, Swipecast, a new fashion app that's been described as a Tinder or Uber for models is aiming to simplify the process of booking models for jobs, and there are serious benefits in store for both models and clients.
Swipecast was founded by entrepreneur Peter Fitzpatrick, who also owns Silent, a traditional model agency. Although he does own an agency — or perhaps because he owns an agency — he sees some serious flaws with the industry. “Your typical model works one or two days per week. Agents have favourites and certain girls fall through the cracks," he told BusinessOfFashion.com. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way for a model to network and access opportunities in real time, in a safe environment?”
The app is super-sleek (think: black on black) and offers features like chat, secure payment, two-way reviews, and a discovery tool where clients can browse new faces.
"We're using technology and design to vastly simplify the task of casting, booking, and paying models, directly from your iPhone," Swipecast promises on its website.
And, from a money point of view, well, Swipecast has the potential to make it rain. According to an article about Swipecast on Forbes.com, the female modeling industry is valued at as high as $4 billion. With it's relatively modest 10 percent commission fee (most agencies collect 30 to 40 percent), Fitzpatrick could gain some serious cash from his innovation.
Fitzpatrick isn't the only one who stands to cash in. Another Forbes article points out that the mean annual salary for a model is $43,570, based on stats from the New York labor department. Not only will models on Swipecast be able to pocket a larger percentage from bookings, the ease and simplicity of the app will hopefully mean they'll be booking jobs more often. The best part? They'll receive payment, through the app, within hours after a job is completed. Most people outside of the industry may not be aware of this, but models — as with many other one-and-done contract employees — sometimes have to wait months to get paid, and then only after countless phone calls, emails, and reminders.
Clients can still offer payment in trade for clothing, accessories instead of payment, but because of the way the app is formatted, all of the information about a booking is presenting from the get-go, where outside of Swipecast, that might take several emails or phonecalls before the issue of payment is even brought up or answered.
The app will also function as a social networking tool of sorts, allowing clients to chat with models (through the app) to get a sense of their personalities before booking them. "This allows me to get a really good sense of [what] they’re going to be like on set before an editorial shoot or a job," Katie Burnett tells Forbes.
In that sense, it's more work for the model. She's got to network, hard, rather than having an agent do it for her, but again, with such a low commission fee, it may be worth it.
It remains to be seen how many users will adopt Swipecast, but if they do, it would really revolutionize the industry by putting more control than ever into models hands. They'll be able to advocate for themselves, and the two-way rating system allows them, for the first time that I'm aware of, to rate clients. And, unlike sites like Model Mayhem, every client is vetted; they can’t book models unless they enter their personal information, corporate email address, and credit card.
Models are also vetted, and right now, according to the website, "priority is given to models who have walked in major runway shows and shot for top editorials and campaigns." So for now, Insta-famous models are a no-go.
Ultimately, Swipecast hope to expand to include photographers, stylists and make-up artists.
Get ready for the streets of NYC and everywhere else to look a lot more like this:
Images: Swipecast; Giphy