Hanging up the heels: the top models who quit the industry

Kristian Brennan

Fashion’s favourite gap-toothed model, with her signature bubble lips, has enthralled the fashion elite for many years due to her flawless walk and impeccable ability to capture a beautiful moment on camera. A moment where she was above and beyond all the other budding models – an icon in the industry. However, sadly, she’s waving au revoir to the catwalk.

Lindsey Wixson has become a sine qua non for fashion weeks, being adored by top fashion designers. Her quintessential American charm and conspicuous beauty has propelled her into fashion heights one could only blissfully dream of.

Discovered at 15-years-old, Lindsey was hand-selected by the legendary photographer Steven Meisel for an editorial in Vogue Italia. Her unique look was then quickly noticed by Miuccia Prada, who signed Lindsey as an exclusive for both Prada and Miu Miu for many seasons.

The American beauty served up a euphonic buffet of major campaigns throughout her career including: Dior, Chanel, Miu Miu and Versace. Lindsey has also booked covers for titles including Purple, I-D and CR fashion book. Needless to say, her fashion resume looks extremely impressive. But after reaching astounding heights in the fashion industry at only 23-years-old, she has recently revealed via Instagram that she will be sadly retiring from the business due to a painful foot injury, focusing instead on the pottery and interiors industry.

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‘To all my fashion fans, I am sad to inform you that my injury has put me in a position to retire from this high heel business,’ Wixson stated.

So as another fashion favourite hangs up her towering heels and leaves the cut-throat and glamorous industry, take a look back at the other iconic supermodels that indefinitely left their mark in fashion and retired.

Gemma Ward

When you think of ’00s models, Gemma Ward quickly springs to mind. A face that transports you to another realm, Gemma could be seen as a fashion enigma. The Australian model knew how to capture a beautiful image, whether that was for shooting campaigns for Galliano, or being the youngest model on the cover of American Vogue at the age of 16.

Her stare transfixes you, with ambiguity behind her intense, juvenile eyes. The leader of the baby doll-faced era – think Heather Marks, Vlada Roslyakova and Lily Cole.

Gemma’s agent officially announced her retirement from the industry after her notable absence in 2009. The Australian beauty chose to focus on her acting career, starring in roles including The Black Balloon and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

With a brief return in 2014, walking exclusively for Prada and shooting their campaign, the model failed to reach the fashion heights she once had.

Agyness Deyn

Quirky and effortlessly cool, androgynous beauty Agyness Deyn made an entire career from her sexual ambiguity and her edgy, peroxide pixie-cut. The British model was featured on Vogue covers around the world, and was a favourite for British fashion label Burberry.

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However, after all her success, Agyness revealed in 2012 that she had retired from modelling in an interview with The Independent.

‘I suppose I have stopped modelling officially. I’ve not done any for a good long while now. I think it was about four years ago when my feelings were changing towards the industry. I didn’t hate it, but I was yearning to do something different. I was on a gradient. It was a gradual thing,’ she said.

Since retiring, she has dabbled in music, starred in the remake of Clash of the Titans, appeared in the West End and most recently has been filming Hard Sun, a pre-apocalyptic crime drama for the BBC.

Julia Nobis

In the seven years that Julia made her fashion debut on the runway as an exclusive for Calvin Klein, she quickly grew as one of fashion’s favourite runway girls and became instantly emblematic of the era, due to her beguiling look and fierce walk.

Her fashion tenure has been extremely impressive. After being fully embraced by fashion bigwigs like Raf Simons, Karl Lagerfeld and Phoebe Philo, she went on to walk for every major fashion house and landed prestigious campaigns including Celine, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Prada.

Australian native Julia has impressively juggled her fashion career whilst studying for a degree in medicine, with dreams of becoming an ER doctor. The fashion industry was never at the forefront of Julia’s mind, and she previously stated, ‘Modelling was never my end goal.’

In 2017 it was reported that Julia had decided to end her successful career in fashion and focus on her career as an ER doctor.

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About Kristian Brennan

Kristian Brennan is a writer based in Manchester.