Do you have what it takes to be a male model?

In the '80s, it was all hail the alpha-male model on the catwalk. He was chiselled and fitted in perfectly alongside the supermodel "It" girls of the era and together they ruled the international fashion world.

By the time the '90s arrived, the waif male was in charge and clearly chose existential grunge over a gym workout.

This is as close as the competitive world of male modelling gets to a bitch fight, where you're looks are the holy grail and the reason you'll score the next important job. One minute you're in demand and next you're an Instagram has-been.

If the European catwalk trends tell us anything, all eyes are pointing toward the geeky, skinny and pasty white-skinned model. He's more alien-like in features than human and typically scouted from the Soviet Union – the latest buzz area to find all of the above quirks. He's fronting campaigns by Louis Vuitton and Gucci, but you won't necessarily find him at VAMFF when it comes to Melbourne on March 1.

Homegrown talent

The Australian male modelling world is vastly different to what's happening in Europe and when it comes to consumer fashion weeks like VAMFF, where relating to the consumer rates higher than being the most eye-turning weird.

"It's all about embracing different looks but keeping it clean cut," says freelance stylist Kate Gaskin.

"Gucci might be embracing thin and sporty guys, but we won't stick with just one look. It's about capturing a broad spectrum of faces and aesthetics," she says.

Covering all bases

That means at VAMFF you're just as likely to see an dreadlocked African street-style model alongside a heavily tattooed Caucasian rocker. There'll be preppy meets grunge cool, athletic for some muscle and skater/surfer boys of course.

"Last year's menswear show was all about the dapper gent so we chose men according to that brief," says Gaskin.


"This year the men's runway show will feature more casual designers so we're going for more sporty looks," she adds.

Healthier aesthetics

According to VAMFF Festival Director Graeme Lewsey, it's less about gauntly thin and more about healthy body types.

"We don't want thin. We want healthy guys," says Graeme Lewsey.

"We look at trends around the world but for us, it's all about finding guys with height and someone who is well groomed. Whether they're rock n roll or nerdy geek it doesn't matter. It's a mix. We want to celebrate that diversity that is our city," he says.

Back to masculine

Rohan MacLaren, 28, has been modelling for seven years and is represented by Chadwicks. He's walked for Dolce and Gabbana, Givenchy and John Richmond in Milan and Paris and says the trend is leaning toward more masculine looks once again.

"When I started modelling the trend was for a very androgynous male," says MacLaren.

"Men were emaciated and very feminine looking. I think it's gone back to masculinity and I've found plenty of work as a result. I think it's about having a healthy look again," he adds.

Inked inspiration

For others like Thomas Davenport, being inked has worked in his favour. The 25 year old has had steady modelling work thanks to his Sailor Jerry inspired tattoos.

"I had tattoos before I started modelling and it's never been a problem, some brands love that look," says Thomas Davenport.

"The key to being a successful male model is to look at trends and find a place within that. I have always had short hair and we're seeing lots of guys with it now, but I am growing it out to try something different," he says.

No need to overstyle

Kwabee Otuo is a Melbourne model that works closely with Australian labels. He's tall, handsome and with tidy dreads he's straight out of a video clip or any of the international campaigns we're seeing right now.

"I don't think that much about the casting," says Otoo.

"Designers know what they want in a male model and when the right one comes along they'll notice you. I'm all about being an individual," he says.