Iconic Supermodels Who Have Inspired Fashion for Decades

When it comes to fashion, there’s no denying that we’re constantly turning our gaze towards people inside the industry for inspiration. Today, that notion might spark the likes of Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Cara Delevigne in your mind; but while they’re certainly the new generation, there is a previous generation of supermodels that has inspired the world over a span of decades. 

The term “supermodel” first came into play in the 1980s to name models that seemed to run the world, taking on job after job and gracing high-fashion covers repeatedly. While there is undeniably a new crop of models on the scene right now, it’s a whole different ballpark. Before social media, these supermodels were known not for having personal lives, but for walking in some of fashion’s biggest runways and gracing Vogue repeatedly. Not only did they seem like supermodels but also superhumans, inspiring women around the world to imitate their styles. 

Though many of these supermodels have retired today, a fair few are still in the fashion and beauty industries in one way or another. Their lasting presence combined with the resurgence of retro style from the late 80s to 90s has lead to a supermodel renaissance of sorts. The same names that were big back then are relevant again, guiding what women are wearing and how they are dressing.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of models who have inspired fashion for decades. The next time you’re at a loss for what to wear, search these names on Pinterest for inspiration galore, and you’ll be good-to-go. Keep scrolling to see who made the list.


Most Iconic Models

Cindy Crawford

With her signature beauty mark, Crawford wowed the world in 1986 when she first appeared on the cover of Vogue. Today, she owns a skincare line Meaningful Beauty, putting her know-how to the test. Insider reports that this supermodel “dropped out of college to pursue modelling full-time.” Before posing for Playboy in 1988 and signing “a multi-million dollar contract with cosmetics company Revlon the next year.”

Naomi Campbell

A true icon, Naomi Campbell re-wrote the rules of the fashion industry, being the first woman of colour to be on the cover of “TIME magazine, French Vogue and Russian Vogue, and the first black British model to appear on the cover of British Vogue,” Insider reports. She’s still going today, walking in Paris Fashion Week 2019 to close the Valentino show — proving that her influence is timeless.

Claudia Schiffer

Discovered at just 17, Schiffer has undeniably made a name for herself, appearing on over 1,000 magazine covers throughout her career. Chosen to be the face of Chanel and Guess, there’s no doubt that her influence continues today. More recently, she’s taken on a number of projects, including a cameo appearance in “Love Actually”, a haircare line, and working with UNICEF.

Kate Moss

Though Moss came to the game a little later — and a little younger— no list would be complete without her. Today, her impact is still palpable with her grunge look echoing loud and clear for many decades to follow. Discovered at a mere fourteen-years-old, Moss’s career in fashion is a longlasting one. Continuing to model today, as well as working a behind-the-scenes, the model has a line of Longchamp bags and works as a contributing editor for British Vogue