IT WAS the agency that launched the original Lager Lovelies. The scantily clad beauties pouted from the side of Tennent’s lager tins and, for a brief moment in the 1970s, girls like Lorraine, Liz, Fiona and Sandra became national treasures, goddesses of the weekend carry-out.
Fast forward 45 years and these days The Model Team is more likely to send the beautiful people on its books to shoot campaigns in Milan and Japan than put them on a can.
Established by the formidable Shelagh Davis, the agency is now run by Michael O’Brien – a former stylist for Hugh Grant on Bridget Jones and for the cast of Auf Wiedersehen Pet – along with his “absolute wing woman” Cathy Owen.
“When I was 17 I worked in a restaurant in Glasgow,” he recalls, “and they organised the opening night with Model Team Scotland, as it was then called. I remember being this little naive boy thinking, ‘They all look so glamorous,’ never thinking I’d eventually own the business.”
He bought Model Team six years ago, convinced he could take the business to the next level and give it a more international outlook. “We have more models than ever working abroad now,” he says, “more scouts coming to us from Paris, Milan, New York. To make a good living you have to travel, you have to get on the fashion week circuit, and there are more and more models doing that. Scots like to travel, they are well received. But you have to start young to make an impact.
“We’re seeing more boys than ever before too,” he adds. “For example, John O’Hagan, a Scottish lad, who has shot a Brooks Brothers campaign, and he’s going to be doing fashion week in New York. And there’s an amazing buzz about Chris Millington, who is incredibly charismatic.”
The Lager Lovelies, he says, was “a very prestigious thing” in its day, when much of the modelling business in Scotland focused on the beauty queen circuit. “There is less dependency on that now. Bookers think Scottish girls have the most perfect skin – a lot of them don’t go out in the sun, because we don’t get a lot of sun. Holly McDowell is 17 and she interned with us a year ago. She flies to Tokyo in January, and has already been model of the week on model.com, which is huge.
“So it can be a really well-paid job,” he says, “but one thing we absolutely push is that they have as many options as possible. Because if it works for you, great, but if it doesn’t, you have to find something else to do. The girls who make it are the girls who are ambitious. You have to work at it, you have to study, you have to know the clients. It’s a business, a huge business.”
And one that Scotland is increasingly at the forefront of.
A former creative director for Xile clothing, Tamakloe was responsible for all mannequins and merchandising. Now a stylist for All Saints in Glasgow, his ambition is to have his own clothes brand. He loves snowboarding and regularly skateboards to work.
With a degree in finance and management science already under her belt, Pinkerton recently trained to become an image consultant and personal shopper. Her Style Me Flawless company helps men and women make the most of their appearance through makeover sessions and group workshops. Her style icon is Victoria Beckham. “I love her style,” she says, “because it is neat, classy, sophisticated and timeless.”
Studying English literature and history of art at Glasgow University, Garvie is also a qualified ski instructor. Her favourite modelling job so far has been working at the Scottish Style Awards. “It was great to play a part in showcasing so many great Scottish designers,” she says.
Studying architecture and music production part-time in his evenings, Walker’s favourite job so far has been working in the showroom at Balenciaga. When he has some spare time, he writes songs on guitar or piano.
An English literature student at Glasgow University, McGlynn works weekends at the Cruise fashion store and spends her spare time listening to jazz music, watching films and reading books.
A second-year student at Glasgow University studying economics and politics, Jankeviciute plays piano and speaks four languages. Her favourite modelling job was working with Max Mara in Paris.
“My favourite job so far was shooting in Thailand for a summer lookbook,” says Millington. “It was a life-changing and breathtaking experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some high-profile and exciting campaigns but that one was by far the most beneficial to me personally.” He claims his most impressive talents are skateboarding and growing facial hair.
Fallon is a physics student at Glasgow University and works in her local pharmacy at weekends. Her favourite shoot was an outdoor one in wild weather for Modh magazine. In her spare time, she teaches herself pieces on the piano or violin or bakes.
Currently studying fashion design at Edinburgh College of Art, Dehsi cites his favourite shoot as one with a group of pugs. “I’m generally pretty scared of dogs so it was quite funny having them sitting on me and picking them up.” His finest skills are whistling and hula hooping.