“The street always dictates what’s trending at any point”

She’s someone who has literally changed the face of today’s fashion world. An interview with casting trailblazer and founder of the Tomorrow Is Another Day modelling agency Eva Gödel about the courage to be authentic, how the street influences her, and cars with character.

Nils Binnberg

Ms Gödel, you find models for shows and campaigns for the world’s premier fashion houses. Where are you casting your net at the moment?
Eva Gödel: Out on the street as I’ve always done. How people behave, how they move – that’s what really matters to me, and that’s not something I can just check out on the internet. I’m interested in people’s personalities and characters. There are plenty of individuals around that are good-looking. But how do you define good-looking? These days, lots of different ideals of beauty exist side by side. In the world of fashion, it’s more important to generate positive energy during a shoot or a show.

You are considered the pioneer of street casting. Is that how you see yourself?
Gödel: I don’t quite understand the whole debate about street casting. I just really enjoy observing. I take in what’s happening on the street. I’m almost convinced it’s not fashion but the street that dictates what’s trending at any point. I always look at what’s going on among young people, how they dress, what music they listen to and where they go in their free time. My agency assimilates these messages and it helps us stay in touch with the times. So when I propose these types of characters to fashion houses, it does, of course, have an impact on fashion, too.

“I’m basically interested in everyone I see.”

Eva Gödel, founder of the Tomorrow Is Another Day modelling agency

When you set up your Tomorrow Is Another Day agency 15 years ago, the era of the supermodels was just coming to an end – and the ideal was still the muscular Adonis from the Davidoff adverts. All of a sudden you started getting regular skater types into fashion. Did you realise even back then that you would turn the industry upside down?
Gödel: No, and to be honest I didn’t give it any thought. Originally, I didn’t even plan to turn it into a business. I studied graphic design, and creating an agency was actually the subject of my thesis. So I did everything the way I envisioned it in an ideal world, without worrying about a business model. At the time, I was more interested in art and film, in the work of Rosemarie Trockel and Larry Clark. That was my kind of thing. Then I just asked all the people I found interesting if they wanted to work with me.

Who for example?
Gödel: I was one of the first big Raf Simons fans. He was among my fashion heroes long before he worked as a designer at Jil Sander and Dior. I met him by chance in Antwerp and pitched my idea to him through a friend. He came to Cologne and I’ve done the casting for his shows ever since.

You do a great deal of travelling. What does mobility mean for you?
Gödel: It’s incredibly important. At no point in the past have people had as many possibilities to travel as they do now. And Europe is moving closer together all the time. When I travel to Paris, for instance, I take the train, because I can work better there than on a plane. Apart from that, I drive a BMW X1. I commute between Cologne and Düsseldorf, and having your own car is a huge luxury. I enjoy the peace and quiet, as that’s something I don’t get much of. And, of course, the flexibility.

Why did you go for the X1?
Gödel: Because I wanted to wait until the i3 had an even better range [laughs]. But I’ve already had a charging station installed at our house in Düsseldorf, so I’ll be switching to the i3 very soon. I like the fact that it’s almost completely recyclable and it’s so roomy. What’s more, it’s incredibly quiet to drive and has excellent acceleration. And it also has something that’s really important to me: its own unique personality.

You said there are countless ideals of beauty today: what type is currently on your agenda for the fashion world?
Gödel: Let me start out by saying that I’m basically interested in everyone I see. But depending on which designer I’m currently working for, I do take a targeted approach. For example, I go to concerts or festivals such as Rock am Ring when Saint Laurent is looking for rock ’n’ roll types. This season, Balenciaga wanted a more Mediterranean look for their men, so I went to Marseille.

How important is diversity today?
Gödel: It’s an absolute must in fashion. I think nationalities that are not clearly recognizable present a way of expressing more open-mindedness. And that’s exactly what’s needed in the current political climate. For a long time, the general rule for fashion shows was that they had to feature an American, an Asian and an African to appeal to the respective markets. That’s a thing of the past now. These days, what fashion demands is absolute open-mindedness.