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It’s a hard life being a male model. To avoid the unimaginably awful fate of being just another pretty face, strings must be added to that really, really ridiculously good-looking bow.
Today’s most influential male models aren’t so much seen and not heard, they’re seen, heard and then some. Rather than simply wearing the latest fashion trends, they are setting them and even designing them, making canny sidesteps into business ventures and turning their god-given cheekbones into social media clout and real world capital. Meet the men with plenty of brains to match their brawn.
Most male models are the end product of smoke and mirrors: they look good when stage-managed within an inch of their life, but have little affinity for the professional world they inhabit.
That’s not the case with Portugal-raised model Armando Cabral who can back up being generally elegant and expensive-looking with being the designer of an eponymous shoe brand that is every bit as tasteful in appearance as the man himself.
In a world where being a name and a face is enough to get cash-registers ringing furiously, the fact that Cabral’s fancy footwear shows a genuine understanding of design is music to our ears, and feet.
Follow Him: @armando_cabral
Whether you consider it admirable or unforgivable, Billy Huxley is one of OG beard wearers who spawned thousands of hairy-hipster imitators.
Putting that divisive achievement aside, in an industry where models are expected to be a blank canvas, Huxley’s decidely unblank canvas (he’s teeming with tattoos) marked a new kind of men’s style icon where clothes are almost secondary to body mods.
Peak hipster may have subsided, but Huxley’s still got us wishing we were cool enough to go heavy on the facial hair, tattoos, leather and jewellery without looking completely and utterly ridiculous.
Follow Him: @billyhuxley
Once upon a time young men rocked up to modelling agencies with a few amateur snaps and an overzealous mother, but if Cameron Dallas is anything to go by, things have changed.
YouTube and Vine (RIP) were the launch pad for this American online personality, whose modelling career is a side-gig for his full-time occupation of documenting his waking life to a frankly staggering audience. He has 20m Instagram followers at the time of writing, which is 3m more than Barack Obama.
When Dallas isn’t making millions by goofing around, he’s modelling for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana while effectively filling the non-threatening attractive male void that was left by the disbandment of One Direction. Would-be Instamodels take note.
Follow Him: @camerondallas
David Gandy is about the only person on the planet who could make Michelangelo’s namesake statue look a bit rough around the edges in comparison. And it’s thanks to a mixture of weight room dedication, a generous dose of genetic gold dust and genuine fashion credentials.
A pro at mixing high-fashion campaigns with accessible high-street product lines, his work combines D&G and M&S. When he’s not making eyeballs pop out of their sockets in his underwear, Gandy’s busy directing his own short films, investing in small brands and throwing his megawattage behind charitable causes. Oh, and showing men that traditional British tailoring has plenty of life in it yet, of course.
Follow Him: @davidgandy_official
American model Eric Rutherford is one of those annoying men who looks good in everything while moving between suiting and casualwear with ease. And he does it all in life’s dreaded middle stages. Now in his 50s(!), Rutherford hasn’t let age become an excuse to make nondescript baggy chinos and a miscellaneous fading polo shirt his go-to uniform.
To that end, Rutherford’s doing a heroic job of demonstrating that the young guns aren’t the only ones who can enjoy picking menswear’s ripest fruit. And, if we’re even a tenth as cool as Rutherford in decades to come, we’ll be very happy indeed.
Follow Him: @mr.rutherford
At 6’6 and with a 40 inch waist, Zach Miko doesn’t fit into the narrow confines of the textbook male model, but thanks to modelling agency IMG’s (dubiously named) ‘brawn division’ men way beyond being a beanpole are no longer being locked out of the fashion game.
In the few years that have followed Miko’s signing, the male body positivity movement has taken flight, with brands slowly waking up to the fact that men of every size should be representated.
Providing larger men with a template for how to dress for their size, Miko is an encouraging rarity in an industry starved of realistic role models, and he does a cracking job of shutting up those who claim that clothes only suit certain body shapes.
Follow Him: @zachmiko
Frenchman Souteyrand is a walking wake-up call for all those men who think that body beautiful is the preserve of the young. At 40, model and personal trainer Souteyrand has cultivated a torso toned enough to make men half his age sign up for HIIT classes.
As well as making the fashion industry sit up and take note of a more traditional ‘fitness model’, Souteyrand has distilled his tips and tricks into his own fitness and nutrition guide, so that the un-swole likes of us can inch closer to Greek god territory. And, as is afforded by having perfectly sculpted everything, Souteyrand keeps it simple when it comes to clothing and still looks great.
Follow Him: @gilles_souteyrand
The name Hu Bing not ring any bells? He’s big in China and is the first international menswear ambassador for the British Fashion Council.
In true Dorian Gray style, Bing started his career in 1990 and is now edging towards 50 while looking roughly half his age: whatever he’s been drinking, we want some – and a lot of it.
For most men past the half century, clothing can be little more than a means of not being naked, but Bing’s all about experimentation. He’s a walking lesson in non-stuffy tailoring and demonstrates that mounting birthdays don’t necessitate a slow descent into dishwater-dull practical clothing.
Follow Him: @hubing
Whoever coined the terminally unfunny phrase ‘don’t feed the models’ clearly didn’t foresee the model-turned-chef thing because, as Isaac Carew proves, good food and good looks make an excellent pairing. In an extremely unlikely move, Carew (who was previously best known for a look that mashed up preppy and rock star) has become male modelling’s answer to Nigella Lawson, minus the excessive innuendo.
In giving the world an insight into his diet, Carew has busted the myth that a model’s sustenance is all alcohol, coffee and cigarettes. Oh, and he does all this while still getting in front of the camera, leaving us with no excuse to say we’re too busy to cook. Thanks, Isaac.
Follow Him: @isaaccarew
A good model wears trends well, but a great model sets them: that’s exactly what gives Oliver Cheshire the edge in a sea of razor-sharp cheekbones and toned torsos.
Translating runway trends into outfits you’d actually want to wear is Cheshire’s modus operandi, so anyone with an ounce of sense should have their eyes narrowed in search of this Essex-boy-gone-menswear-royalty during fashion week.
He’s something of a menswear polymath in that he looks just as good in a tracksuit as a bespoke suit, but the thing you should really look to steal is his eye for details. Whether it’s a mix of fabrics, a clash of smart and casual or some statement accessories, Cheshire’s a pro at the little things that take your outfit to the next level.
Follow Him: @oliver_cheshire
Rags to riches stories don’t come more digital than the tale of Pietro Boselli, a humble maths teacher who went viral thanks to a student who stealthily put his image online.
Boselli will be forever indebted to that sneaky student, as modelling contracts, ad campaigns and online followers have snowballed ever since. Though Boselli’s been MIA from the staff room for quite some time, teaching is still a talent. After all, who else will step up to the challenge of showing the world’s male population how to be hench without dressing like a Love Island reject?
Follow Him: @pietroboselli
The human embodiment of all those qualities which apparently characterise British style (eccentricity, wit, eclecticism), Jack Guinness is definitely no blink-and-you’ll-miss-him model: being a personality is roughly half of his job. So, if you were under the misapprehension that models are mute, then you’ve not read Guinness’s CV thoroughly enough: DJ, presenter and professional party starter are just a few of his surplus talents.
Even more impressively, in today’s post-hipster age he’s one of the few men who can carry off a full beard and heritage garms without looking like he’s the last person to receive the memo.
Follow Him: @jackguinness
Olivia Palermo is one of the best-dressed and most beautiful women in the world, so it only makes sense that her other half Johannes Huebl is the direct male equivalent.
Proving there’s more to German style than socks, sandals and backpacks, this Hanover-born clothes horse has become the unofficial poster boy for preppy style, anytime, anywhere.
So effective is Huebl’s ability to pull off chinos, loafers and an Oxford shirt, we’ve questioned whether we really need fashion at all when the classics always look so goddamn great on him.
Follow Him: @johanneshuebl
The correct pronunciation of Jon Kortajarena’s name may be something which escapes most, but there’s no missing this Spanish model’s cheekbones and eyebrows, which have been loudly radiating from Tom Ford ads for as long as we can remember.
A brief appearance in Ford’s A Single Man enabled the perpetually sun-kissed Spaniard to add actor to his line-up of talents and if his Instagram antics are anything to go by, he’s a dab hand at throwing a shape or two on the dancefloor, too.
As a result of being handsome enough to look good in absolutely anything, Kortajerna’s wardrobe errs on the side of simplicity with a smattering of prints and leather jackets chucked in for good measure. All of which, unsurprisingly, looks excellent.
Follow Him: @kortajarenajon
Lucky Blue Smith
There are Instamodels, and then there’s Lucky Blue Smith, whose piercing blue eyes and shock of blonde hair have won him hordes of fans, both of the tweenage and serious fashion person variety. Such is his popularity and star power, you’ll now find a cohort of equally oddly-named relatives getting in on the action.
With an Instagram following roughly equal to that of a small country (at last count 3.3m) brands that want access to eyeballs are clamouring over themselves to get the original social media sensation to wear their wares.
Though, despite being a marketer’s dream Lucky Blue is no commercial puppet: he manages to do that whole grungy tortured-soul look like a complete pro.
Follow Him: @luckybsmith
Although he’s just a whisker into his twenties, Luka Sabbat has earned the respect of the modelling world thanks to his bang-on-the-money ability to make the practice of wearing streetwear look stupidly simple.
One of the pioneers of the cross-body bag trend, somehow Sabbat can wear things that would even look ridiculous on most of the models on this list. Granted, it’s all eye-wateringly expensive, but still there’s a skill to getting it right.
With a following of over 1m Instagram fans, hype brands that this influencer endorses stand to reap the rewards, so head over to Sabbat’s socials now if you’re looking to swot up.
Follow Him: @lukasabbat
One-trick-pony models have a lot to contend with when there are the likes of Richard Biedul walking around: a man who seamlessly segues between fronting fashion campaigns, pacing catwalks and lending his expert eye to the creative projects of big-hitting brands.
Biedul is a regular fixture on London’s menswear scene, but unlike many anony-models you’re just as likely to find this rakish influencer talking menswear as you are wearing it.
Championing British brands, wearing the hell out of wide silhouettes and generally winning at street style are all par for the course for Biedul, which makes us feel a pang of sympathy for all those less accomplished, genetically-blessed peers.
Follow Him: @richardbiedul
Whereas your average well-muscled model is the obedient subject of some shit-hot personal trainer, in the case of Roger Frampton, the well-muscled model is the shit-hot personal trainer.
Previously best-known for starring in Orlebar Brown’s ad campaigns, Frampton has decided to share the secret to getting insanely ripped by devising his own workout regime which relies solely on the weight of the body.
Smashing the stereotype that brains and brawns shall never meet, Frampton’s all about the science behind exercise and clearly has plenty between his ears with a TED talk that’s racked up over 2m views.
Follow Him: @rogerframpton
Sang Woo Kim
When it comes to the question of who’s got the sharpest cheekbones of them all, there’s no doubt that Sang Woo Kim takes the title, even among his impossibly angular peers.
He’s been in front of the camera for everyone from Burberry to Diesel but it’s not just the artist/model’s mind-boggling bone structure that enables him to break from the the facially fortunate pack. His ability to throw together an epic outfit means that outside of the menswear shows, Kim gives waiting photographers RSI on the regular.
The key to his success isn’t wearing garish photographer bait though, it’s his simple yet retina-pleasing outfits that make the model a true flagbearer for great British style.
Follow Him: @sangwo0
Despite being one of the most photographed faces in male modelling, Sean O’Pry is not one for excessive self promotion. So while his ice blue eyes and bold brows may trigger vague recognition, for most his name probably won’t. Given that O’Pry has worked with pretty much every single major designer imaginable, the fact that he’s remained a bit of an enigma is as impressive as it is ironic.
But, that’s precisely the sign of a truly great model and it’s what makes O’Pry a designer’s dream. This way above average American is striking enough to turn heads but malleable enough to avoid oversaturation.
Follow Him: @seanopry55