Michael Baker is the Men's Division Agent and Scouter of Storm Management, the well-known agency that discovered -among many others- Kate Moss in 1988. So, when I asked him to be interviewed for the first issue of 5' ELEVEN'', he didn't hesitate at all but something was perfectly clear, any pictures of him will be published. Of course, we agreed and to compensate we shot with some of his boys recently launched to the shows.
You have been an agent since 2012, how different is the fashion industry now?
There is so much more emphasis and influence from the Street; Fashion, Casting, Branding and Advertising across the industry have really embraced it. For example, if you look at Louis Vuitton this season with Virgil’s debut show and the success of his career with Off-White, the leading high-end brands are tuning in to the inspiration of Street culture, which ultimately has a wider effect on the industry as a whole, including us as Model Scouts and Agents. Before this, and for the longest time, the industry was really led by the trends on the runway, which created the “trickle-down” effect towards the high-street and street-style. It’s shifted entirely.
Storm is one of the most recognized model agencies worldwide. What do you think has been the "secret" of the success as an agency?
Our Managing Director, Sarah Doukas, opened STORM in 1987, so there is a rich history and a great reputation for discovering talent. Sarah has always been drawn to people that are unique, and she has taught and encouraged us to do the same.
In simple terms: Scout, support and manage. You discover new talents, you support them and you manage them with their best interests, always. So, when you're dealing with Clients, Foreign Agencies, or talking with them and to their parents, you always have to discuss as a team and consider what is best for them in order to further develop their careers. You also spend a lot of time to help them with confidence and give them the tools to be able to work and grow to succeed in the industry. It can be a tough industry to be in without the knowledge and guidance of a model agency like STORM.
It is impossible to avoid what has happen in the beginning of the year and about a better treatment for models. What do you do to protect your models in this industry?
There is a responsibility for all of us in this industry and in every industry, especially where young people are involved, to work with integrity, to speak up and act responsibly.
For us as agents and for New Face Agents especially, it’s our role to educate from the very beginning. We manage from the moment they are scouted throughout their careers to ensure that they and their parents have all the information they need. Whether it’s a casting, a go-see, a shoot or runway show, we oversee every step of the process and organize the logistics, the timings, and the travel, approve the team, the content and the creative, and guide every model through each stage.
What can you tell us about the presentation of Womenswear and Menswear in the same fashion show? Do you think that is the future of the industry, considering how Menswear is growing up?
It seems that this is a direction many of the leading brands are going in, Burberry and Gucci etc. Hedi Slimane's first show for Celine will be launching Menswear alongside Womenswear in September and there is already a huge buzz about what to expect from the show and the first Menswear’s line at Celine. Joining Menswear and Womenswear in my opinion is the best way to elevate the spectacle of a runway show. Shows are a huge production already, and with a combined show there is more Press, more Influencers, more Buyers, more Celebrities and because of Social Media and live streaming, a larger audience to promote to. It does seem logical that they would combine them.
MY DAD SAID TO ME YEARS AGO "IF YOU LOVE YOUR JOB, YOU DON'T WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE"
Looking at your Instagram, I noticed a funny feed orientated to fashion. But why is there not a single image of yourself?
-Laughs- I don’t think about it, it just isn’t about me, it's about my job. I think you have to have a sense of humour when working in this industry, my Instagram just shows that, whether people like it or hate it; it would be never about me. My Instagram is a tool to connect me to photographers, potential models, to clients, and to our own models.
Discover the complete Michael's interview in the Fall Winter 2018 - Issue 1. Get your copy here.
Words by Edwin S Freyer & Andy Durán.
Photography by Edwin S Freyer.
Styled by Nathan Henry.
Grooming by Christabel Draffin using Lab Series for Men.
Christabel appears courtesy of Emma Davis Agency.
Tom Curtis was scouted by Michael at Chapel Market -North London- on October 2017. Since then, Tom has walked for J.W. Anderson or Qasimi and get clients like Calvin Klein.
Blue oversized checked cotton shirt WOOYOUNGMI
Camel wool trousers CASELY-HAYFORD
Sneakers Tom's own
After 7 months modeling, Tuhir Brahmbhatt arrives to London from India, where he's originally and where he was spotted at Zara India Campaign. That job got the attention from Storm Management board and right after he traveled to Europe, Tuhir made his debut for Louis Vuitton, same show that was Virgil Abloh's debut for the Men's Collection of the french house.
Total look LOUIS VUITTON