Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model

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University of California Press, Sep 14, 2011 - Social Science - 328 pages
Sociologist Ashley Mears takes us behind the brightly lit runways and glossy advertisements of the fashion industry in this insider’s study of the world of modeling. Mears, who worked as a model in New York and London, draws on observations as well as extensive interviews with male and female models, agents, clients, photographers, stylists, and others, to explore the economics and politics—and the arbitrariness— behind the business of glamour. Exploring a largely hidden arena of cultural production, she shows how the right "look" is discovered, developed, and packaged to become a prized commodity. She examines how models sell themselves, how agents promote them, and how clients decide to hire them. An original contribution to the sociology of work in the new cultural economy, Pricing Beauty offers rich, accessible analysis of the invisible ways in which gender, race, and class shape worth in the marketplace.

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User Review  - Meggo - LibraryThing

An insider's look at the modelling world and how it assigns value to looks. A little unsatisfying because the answer is ultimately "randomly", but that is the nature of the industry. High value ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

Mears did her sociology dissertation as a participant-observer, or observing participant, in the modeling industry in London and New York. She discusses the divide between “commercial” modeling, where ... Read full review


Chapter 1 Entry
Chapter 2 Economics of the Catwalk
Chapter 3 Becoming a Look
Chapter 4 The Tastemakers
Chapter 5 Size Zero HighEnd Ethnic
Chapter 6 Runway to Gender
Chapter 7 Exit
The Precarious Labor of Ethnography

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About the author (2011)

Ashley Mears is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University

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