AWAY: Marko James Bahor Interview
Marko James Bahor is a model booker and head of new faces at Tomorrow is Another Day, a leading male model agency for editorial, advertising and runway. He is currently based in Germany, but operates worldwide, on all 4 biggest fashion markets. During his studies at faculty of Arts in Ljubljana he tested out different careers in marketing and fashion before settling on this one, noting: “For me, it was genuinely about learning new things as I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life.” And he’s still not completely sure where this might lead him.
Now, he’s working with some of the biggest brands in the world; Balenciaga, Vetements, Dior, Prada just to name a few. We chatted to him about his journey to Germany and his feeling towards Slovenia.
Briefly explain who you are and what you do?
Career-wise I’m Head of new-faces at TIAD, a model agency established and run by my boss Eva Gödel since 2010, where I’m taking care of our “newbies”. Whilst we are especially focusing on boys I’m also taking over our Women’s department, which is currently growing.
Personally, I’m a person deeply interested in art, music & casting.
Tell me about your life and creative career before you moved abroad?
I’ve always been into various aspects of art and film; fascinated by people’s faces which I found most interesting and I guess that led me to being interested in other forms of fashion – not necessarily commercial. I’ve always been drawn to what most of the other people disliked, found odd or even ugly. I’ve always liked the “different”.
How did you get into fashion?
I think I never got into “fashion” or whatever you might call it by choice but by coincidence and a series of events soon after I started my studies at Uni. I’ve tried to get a taste of as many different new things, from writing for a fashion/art magazine, working for a local modeling agency to managing PR and SM for fashion brands whilst working in an advertising company. I’ve always been drawn to trying out new things and learning about stuff I couldn’t learn as a student. For me, it was genuinely about learning new things as I didn’t have a clear idea of what I want to do with my life. I also really appreciated having a lot of friends who worked in various fields of art, fashion, and music, who encouraged me and taught me a lot.
Later I also undertook a Fashion Business class at Central Saints Martins, which gave me this final feel of what I wanted to work on.
And how did you get from working at an advertising agency to working as a Model Booker?
It’s been kind of a self-choice. Advertising was a part of something I really wanted to explore but I’ve always known it was not something I would want to do for the rest of my life. The transition from one to another actually happened really quick.
From applying to moving abroad took about a month, but it wasn’t stressful as I knew what I wanted to go for and I also kind of knew what I was getting myself into.
Last year you moved abroad to work for Tomorrow is Another Day, was it the job that convinced you or the location?
Absolutely not the location. ☺
If you’d ask me a few years back where I would like to move for a job, I’m 100% sure Germany would not be on the list. But it was a nice change, I’m actually glad Cologne and Düsseldorf (where the agency is going to move in the next few months) are my new home, as they’re full of art and people are more open here than the people in Slovenia. I also really like that we’re (as an agency) based outside of this fashion “madness” and can go home to work in peace after Paris, Milan, and London. It’s even nicer to visit those cities every few months in my spare time, as a tourist.
You are now traveling around the world, working with some best known brands. What has been the highlight of it all?
I would lie if I would say that traveling is one of the best parts of this job. For me, the most important thing is to be good at what I do, to improve and especially to have a nice and respectful relationship with clients and models.
I actually thought about writing numbers of how many boys we had in shows and how many shows we worked on but it would actually be irrelevant (and maybe even pretentious). Firstly, I am most proud of myself for being able to do a really good job during men’s fashion week in January (being my first season after I started working mid-October 2017) and secondly I’m happy and proud of my team (my “family”) for maintaining such a good relationship with one another. I have to admit I have never before seen such an open and honest work relationship.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
There’s been many I’ve been given; from ones that are rather cliché to ones that I considered stupid at the time but eventually came true.
I would say that whatever you do (or wish to do / become) always be nice to people. Nobody likes a bad attitude or arrogance, especially in industries where everyone knows everyone.
If I’d have to give a cliché advice I’d say that it’s important to work hard for your “dreams”, to never stop learning and to grab the opportunity when offered.
Moving away is not always pretty, is it? What has been the biggest struggle for you?
Same as for most people; being away from your loved ones mostly. But I like changes, otherwise I get bored quickly…
And how often do you return home, to Slovenia?
As much as I can. Usually, I try to get back home at least once per month and I try to see my family before every fashion week season, just so they can see me before I get completely crazy.
Would you like to move back to Slovenia? What would it take to get you back?
I would move back if I had a chance to do the same things I do here… Unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment. I really like Ljubljana and the people, but to be honest, I cannot see myself living in one city in for the rest of my life.
What’s your opinion on the creative scene in Slovenia? Do you think young people have enough opportunities and get enough support to start their careers?
I believe we all have (or had) mostly the same opportunities; with the growth of social media, internet and technology, we are more connected than ever. There’s an unlimited source of information online, you can take online classes from some of the most successful people in the industry if you want… and this is how I started. I subscribed to numerous online publications, I was a daily visitor and reader of BOF (the Business of Fashion), Show studio, and I likewise used Instagram to follow people form the industry to gain as much information and knowledge as possible.
Young people in general should stop being passive, blaming the lack of opportunities, but work hard, research and educate themselves and take charge of their faith. It’s not hard working 20 hours a day, saying goodbye to your free time and the weekend if you love your job, have goals and know why you’re doing it.
Regarding careers, most people are still not aware that there are tons of jobs in the industry, not just models, stylists and designers. To me, the behind-the-scenes jobs are even more exciting and are respected just as much as the ones in the spotlight. I was actually surprised at how many positions there are within fashion houses for instance or model agencies, fashion magazines, to name just a few.
And finally, do you had any advice for young people with big aspirations?
I feel I shouldn’t be the one giving advice as I’m still young and still have a lot of aspirations. I just wish more young people would start longing for more and more knowledge… at the end of the day, likes on social media won’t bring you a job or a good reputation (especially not in industries where hard work is highly appreciated).
Slovenia is a tiny country that offers limited opportunities when it comes to fashion and image making. Every year there are approximately 60 students accepted to study fashion design, not to mention textiles and other similar courses. But there is a real lack of opportunities and internships, let alone jobs for graduates or career guidance. In recent years there has been some great progress in Slovenian fashion with a series of fashion events, boutiques stocking local clothing and popular culture supporting young designers. However young people still aspire to move abroad to one of the fashion capitals for their chance at employment and dream jobs.
Anže Ermenc explores why young Slovenian creatives are moving away. ‘AWAY’ is a series of interviews highlighting their experiences and struggles as well as identifying issues and opportunities in Slovenia. Is it worth moving away from the comfort of home and saying goodbye to loved ones for a ‘shot’ at fame?