The model is an ever-present part of a designer’s creative journey, regardless of the path that journey takes. The fashion industry’s designer-model relationship is a fundamental driving force, shaping its progress from initial fittings through captivating photoshoots and compelling advertisements. In this collaborative dance, models serve as interpreters of the designer’s creative genius, embodying their vision and showcasing it to the world. Remarkably, designers can also find themselves inspired by the models they work with, sparking a dynamic exchange of ideas and aesthetics.
The designer’s model
We have often witnessed a beautiful harmony between the designer and the model. There was a synergy between Hubert Givenchy and Aubrey Hepburn when he designed and popularised the ‘little black dress’ after Aubrey Hepburn stunned in her hit film, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. The same goes for the iconic Karl Lagerfeld and Lilly-Rose Depp’s unconventional friendship, where Karl served as a fashion mentor for the model. Lilly Rose Depp also inspired the designer, following in the footsteps of her mother, Vanessa Paradi.
Although the result of this harmony appears seamless, navigating the world of fashion demands fortitude and unwavering commitment. Models bring the designer’s artistic vision to life through their poise, self-assured presence, and the unique personality they infuse into each garment. It’s a partnership where every outfit becomes a canvas for shared storytelling and where individuality meets collective creativity in the most remarkable ways.
Designers work closely with models to ensure their creations are presented in the best possible light, emphasising the importance of precision, grace, and alignment with the overall brand aesthetic. What better flow exists than the one between the designer and the model? For our debut fashion cover story, we carefully link the synergy between the designer, the model and the muse.
Rebecca Fabunmi- A designer’s dream model
Rebecca Fabunmi graces our fashion cover, embodying physical excellence, infusing purpose into designs, and igniting the designer’s creative spark. She’s a living canvas of art, life, and desire—a true visual delight.
The five-foot, eight-inch fashion model has made a name in the fashion industry by walking for multiple luxury Nigerian brands with designer extraordinaire Lisa Folawiyo, aptly naming her “My forever muse”. In her six-year modelling career, Rebecca has walked for and featured in lookbooks for Nigerian and international brands and designers: Puma Nigeria, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Nkwo, Fruche, Vicnate, Pepperrow, Tiffany Amber and, of course, Lisa Folawiyo. She has also been featured in several international publications like Vogue and Ebony.
As a model, the importance of Rebecca’s work cannot be overstated. She is the foremost representation of the designer’s creations, appearing as a living doll while showcasing these pieces to the world at fashion shows or in digital and printed visuals. Her work as a model breathes life into the designer’s work, and a specific connection is needed for the process to be authentic. Runway or through her attitude.
“From the way I walk to the way I pose to the attitude I give in whatever I’m wearing, everything I do is very important in the fashion industry.”
On the runway, Rebecca glides with the grace and elegance of a swan, captivating your attention from the moment she steps into view until she executes a flawless twirl and exits. Watching her talent shine with a confident aura is an absolute delight. “The designer’s vision and the message they aim to convey influence my appearance and attitude in the clothes I model, shaped by my interpretation. It all comes down to feelings, energy and the designer’s idea”. Rebeca can finetune her craft by soaking up inspiration from the people and things around her. And just like other creatives, preparing for a shoot or walking for shows can be chaotic. However, Rebecca prioritises self-care and positive affirmations as a ritual to get her mind and body ready for the job.
She cannot speak about her growing career without revering her relationship with the designer, Lisa Folawiyo, of whom she speaks highly. As a modelling newbie, Rebecca was on set to shoot for Lisa’s collection and a bit out of sorts, as expected. “Lisa and her team made me feel comfortable and walked me through the process. That was when I connected with Lisa because she never assumed I was a professional. She made my time with her enjoyable, and I still appreciate that.”
Inclusivity and diversity in the modelling industry
The fashion industry is known for its strict rules regarding weight and size. Numerous instances within the fashion industry have depicted the prevalence of size segregation and the adamance of adopting size-inclusive practices. Designers and fashion houses often praise and adore thinness, which causes many issues in the lives of models and onlookers. As a model, Rebecca Fabunmi meets all the criteria required for a textbook fashion model. However, she and many other models spend time in the gym, working out and watching their diet to ensure they remain as thin as possible. While she is a perfect model size in body and height, Rebecca Fabunmi is not immune to size discrimination in the modelling industry. She speaks passionately about the need for representation in the industry because the impact of this runs skin deep.
“People think being skinny means perfect, but that is not true. I see models like me in the gym still trying to get a toned body to fit the extremely skinny requirements.”
Yes, the rumours of size segregation in the fashion industry are true. We cannot underscore the power of representation. Fashion brands must do what they can to ensure that body types do not become trends at the expense of women’s mental and physical health. Pioneering brands like Good American, Savage X Fenty, and Sinead O’Dwyer have progressed toward size inclusivity, but the industry still grapples with the need for systemic change.
The call for greater representation and promoting body positivity remains at the forefront of the conversation. It urges the fashion world to recognise the beauty and diversity inherent in all body types and to advocate for inclusivity as a fundamental pillar of modern fashion. While the fashion industry is trying to include diverse bodies on the runway and magazine covers, we firmly believe there is room for more progress in this regard, especially in Nigeria.
The modelling industry can be cut-throat and hostile, especially to newcomers. Rebecca reflects on how she has become self-assured and confident while building her career. Her relationships with other models have also enjoyed this growth because she is more open and confident. Rebecca Fabunmi has secured her spot in the fashion industry, and the confidence that she has birthed is evident in her comportment and demeanour.
Standing tall on and off the runway in the fashion industry is no small feat. Rebecca Fabunmi is one to look out for—a designer’s dream model.
Talent- Rebecca Fabunmi @rebeccafabunmi_
Editor-in-Chief- Chidera Muoka @thechideramuoka
Content Editor- Coco Anetor-Sokei @heycocopops
Fashion & Beauty Editor- Wumi ‘Tuase @wumituase
Digital Designer- Oyindamola Adedipe @oyindamola.x
Video Editor- Mosadoluwa Akinjobi @m.akinjobi
Writer- Grace Hans-Bello @graceonyinze
Photographer- Alexander Ashimole @thelexash. Assistant- Temitayo Lawal @temitayo4t
Stylist- Kayito Nwokedi @Kayito_n. Assistant- Louis Edem (@iamlouie___)
Makeup- Adebukola Hassan @house_of_daffodil & Dada Farian Ayobami @_.farian_
Hair Styling- The Belle Store @thebellestore
Look 1: Outfits- @ejiroamostafiri. Accessories- @bland2glam. Shoes- @Lhambi
Look 2: Dress- Lisa Folawiyo Studio @lisafolawiyo_studio. Accessories- @bland2glam. Shoes- @Lhambi