Researchers Predict Who The Next Kendall Will Be

by Melanie Richtman

Researchers at Indiana University have managed to use Instagram to predict who the most popular models at New York Fashion Week will be this year. Now, we're not talking anything obvious, like "Kendall Jenner is going to be big at NYFW this year because she has 36 million Instagram followers." They used a combination of data — from Instagram and the Fashion Model Directory — to successfully predict (with 80 percent accuracy) which new faces will be popular on the runways this year.

Researchers gathered data including a model's height, shoe size, dress size, number of runways they've walked, eye color, number of Instagram followers, likes and comments, and the sentiment of these comments. It's important to call out that the researchers define "popularity" as the number of runways walked, not It girl status like Jenner and Gigi Hadid currently have.

They decided to focus on 15 new faces, collecting data in September 2014, to identify who the popular models would be for the Fall 2015 season. Of these 15 new faces, the researchers predicted which eight would be the most popular on runways and which seven would be the least popular. They accurately predicted six of the eight models who would be most popular and six of the seven who would be least popular. Not too shabby!

It turns out that the most popular models of the Fall 2015 season were Sofia Tesmenitskaya, Arina Levchenko, Renata Scheffer, Sasha Antonowskaia, Melanie Culley, and Phillipa Hemphrey.

"Our analysis suggests that Instagram is as important as being cast by a top agency in terms of its ability to predict success on the runway," said Emilio Ferrara, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California who conducted the research at the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing's Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research.

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"The focus on 'new faces' was an attempt to overcome the powerful influence of 'cumulative advantage' on popularity, in which the greatest predictor of future success is past success," explained Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research. Ciampaglia points out that Kendall Jenner is a great example of this effect. Her famous siblings and success as a reality star only provide her with more advantages in the modeling industry.

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I wonder who the popular models for this upcoming season will be?