Upon being signed, Finlay Mangan’s agency asked him what his ideal modeling gig would be. He answered that it would be a Gucci runway show, citing their eclecticism and dominance in the fashion world. Several months later, his first international fashion show just so happened to be Gucci’s Autumn/Winter 2020 Menswear runway show at Milan Fashion Week.
The CAS first-year’s modeling career is currently on an anomalous, swift rise. Mangan, who is from Fairfield, Connecticut, admitted modeling was never on his mind growing up.
“It was definitely something I didn’t seek out,” Mangan said. “I suppose my mom was like ‘you need to do that’ when I was younger but I never took that seriously.”
Instead, his upbringing in suburban Connecticut was occupied with academics and skating. He delegated his creative energy to playing bass in the indie pop band Similar Kind. Day trips to the city to go skating at the LES Coleman Skatepark had piqued his interest in New York and the atmosphere he discovered at NYU on a campus tour was enough to submit an early decision application.
Having been accepted several months earlier and with an arrival at NYU on the near horizon, Mangan was at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in the summer of 2019 when he was approached between sets by a scout from IMG Models Worldwide, a top-tier modeling agency. The scout gave Mangan his card and he would soon be signed with IMG, a major goal for aspiring models that Mangan achieved from the start.
“I think I had an unusual entry to the industry,” Mangan said. “A lot of people will get scouted by what’s called a mother agency that acts as a manager for the models and they introduce them to the larger agencies, like IMG.”
By September, Mangan had landed his first runway gig, walking for R13 at New York Fashion Week. By December, he had appeared as the sole male model in The Marc Jacobs Pre-Fall 2020 lookbook.
At the turn of the year, Mangan had yet to venture outside of the United States for work but had already accumulated experience in the top tier of the New York Fashion industry, skipping the early regional stages of modeling that can take some models years to surpass.
This all would change in January of 2020 when he boarded a flight to Paris in an aim to walk the runways of the European Autumn/Winter Menswear weeks. Once there, he flew to Italy for Milan Fashion Week.
“When flying to these places, you’re not sure what castings you’re doing or if you even have a show,” Mangan said.
In such uncertain circumstances, it would only make sense to have the most coveted house in fashion reach out to personally request that he attend a closed casting call. Mangan spent nearly a day with Gucci and their extensive casting procedures before being confirmed for the show.
It’s a seminal moment in any model’s career to walk for such an eminent and storied label. Mangan’s moment would be made complete when, dressed in a yellow tiger print overcoat in homage to Kurt Cobain, he became the signature look of the show.
Before leaving Europe, Mangan appeared on the runway again but this time in Paris for 1017 ALYX 9SM. This show saw him walking alongside the likes of supermodels Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber.
Mangan is now back in New York and continuing to work in the fashion week circuit. By the time of this article’s publication, he will have appeared in the Palm Angels Autumn/Winter 2020 show for New York Fashion Week.
Such unmitigated success can make one forget that Mangan’s career began less than a year ago. Exuding a sense of unforced humility when recounting his accomplishments, Mangan seems genuinely grounded, yet focused on his career trajectory. He speaks earnestly and evokes a down-to-earth sensibility more expected of someone living in the heartland than downtown Manhattan.
When addressing his career, he carries reverence that acknowledges the ephemerality of modeling and his gratitude for his rare success. Despite having eyes set on future major runway shows and print campaigns, Mangan admitted the fickle nature of the industry.
“There’s no certainty, no security, no consistency. It’s definitely passive income,” Mangan said.
He still has every reason to keep reaching higher, however. Mangan’s shoulder-length hair, cobalt eyes and acute cheekbones help attract casting opportunities, but it is his likable demeanor and dedication that helps secure jobs in an industry that values professionalism as much as looks. A successful modeling career may be difficult to ignite and sustain, but Mangan’s shows no sign of burning out anytime soon.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, February 10, 2020 print edition. Email Chad Evans at [email protected]