Since being scouted in 2009, British-born Chris Arundel (Storm, New Madison), who is of English, Irish, Asian and Russian descent, has basically taken the modeling industry by storm. He made his debut walking in Rick Owens' S/S 2011 show. He has since walked for Dior Homme, Yohji Yamamoto ("pretty much every season since [he] started"), Ann Demeulemeester, Paul Smith, and Alexandre Plokhov, among others; graced the pages of Fucking Young!, Client, Fault, Vanity Fair, and Open Lab - just to name a few; and starred in lookbooks for Native Youth and Urban Outfitters, etc. We caught up with Chris, who walked in today's Matthew Miller A/W 214 show in London, and spoke about dealing with rejection, affecting the industry's standard of beauty, what he does besides modeling, and more ...
The Fashion Law - How old are you and you’re from Essex, right?
Chris Arundel - I'm 22 years old and I am from Essex, a place that is very different to the TV show.
The Fashion Law - When were you scouted?
Chris Arundel - I was scouted down a back street on the way to a friends house in Essex pretty late at night. It was an unlikely scenario. A car pulled up and some guy jumped out. It seemed more like I was gonna get kidnapped than scouted but I ended up doing a few polaroids the next day and went from there.
The Fashion Law - You say that you have had a "long run" in modeling. What do you think it is about you that has allowed you to have such a successful career thus far?
Chris Arundel - I think there are a lot of different factors in what brings a model success. Obviously appearance is important and taking care of yourself but you have to consider luck, chance and of course your actions and personality. Whether you're really sweet or an asshole, there are people in this industry that go for both characters. You just need to work out how things work and how you can make yourself a part of that.
The Fashion Law - I know that you’re an illustrator (check out his site HERE). What are you working on right now? Do you get much time off from modeling to pursue other projects?
Chris Arundel - I am in the final year of my degree. So, I have been busy with that and some freelance work. I have never really had any problem balancing the two time-wise. It just means a few more sleepless nights closer to deadlines, but I can deal with that. At the minute, I'm just in the process of trying to get more freelance illustration work and writing a dissertation.
The Fashion Law - Prior to being scouted, did you think you were so-called “model material”?
Chris Arundel - Definitely not. It took me a while to get used to. I was quite shy up until that stage in my life. So, a few early shoots turned out kinda awkward, as I didn't really know how to pose or work infront of a camera. Before getting scouted, I had spent all my time skateboarding or writing graffiti. So, it was a pretty dramatic transformation.
The Fashion Law - Do you consider yourself a "model" or is it more of something you are doing on the side?
Chris Arundel - I think its something I am passionate about, as I admire the skill and artistic talents of a lot of photographers and designers, etc. in this industry. I don't think I would really refer to myself as a model, but I would say I am someone who is a model amongst many other things.
The Fashion Law - A lot of guys say one thing you have to get used to is a lot of rejection because it is part of the job. What are your thoughts on this?
Chris Arundel - It is what it is. I have learned a lot of life skills via modeling and dealing with rejection is one of those. Its just something you can't take personally. If you don't get a job its not something personal its just because someone else was more suited to it and that's not something that really troubles me.
The Fashion Law - Other than learning how to deal with rejection, what are some of the things you've learned?
Chris Arundel - I would say that through modeling, along with dealing with rejection I have learned a great deal of other life skills. Firstly being independent. When you get thrown into the deep end and spend a lot of time traveling, you need to know how to get around in foreign cities. This includes navigating public transport and speaking languages you probably forgot as soon as you left school.
Organization is also key making sure you are always on time and managing to fit things in with a busy schedule. This is of course helped by having a supportive agency, which I have been lucky enough to be blessed with. Finally, I would say modeling has really improved my people skills. As I mentioned, I was a pretty shy kid but after a while I found that I was really able to interact with photographers, stylists, hair, make up people and anyone else I have met working as a model. It has been great to meet so many amazing people.
The Fashion Law - You must be labeled as an “androgynous” model pretty frequently. Is that a term that you identify with?
Chris Arundel - At one stage I heard that word thrown around a lot but nowdays it has cooled off a bit. In terms of possessing feminine qualities I would say I do to a degree but in my opinion, what is generally viewed as masculine or feminine is pretty messed up. I like to think I like what I like regardless of it being considered gender specific.
The Fashion Law - Do you think that you and some of the other token "androgynous" guys have somehow affected the standard of beauty?
Chris Arundel - The standard of beauty seems to change a lot in the fashion industry but there will always be people looking for something different, or a more obscure kind of beauty. The androgyny thing has been around for quite a while I believe, at least before my time and I don't really see it going anywhere. It's great that the fashion industry's perception of beauty stretches so wide and continues to grow larger. So, if that can affect the standard of beauty then its definitely a good thing to open peoples eyes to alternatives in what can be considered beauty.
The Fashion Law - What are you obsessed with right now?
Chris Arundel - At the moment I am obsessed with the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, the film of Dario Argento, the photography of Weegee and the Artwork of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.