On the eve of the international fashion week calendar, American models have launched a rights group. As Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week is about to start, models are seeking recognised workplace standards including backstage privacy which would cease unauthorized nude photos as well as a recognised program to deal with sexual harassment.
Not-for-profit group Model Alliance was endorsed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and founded by model Sara Ziff, 29, who has worked as a model since she was 14. Ziff stated she witnessed first hand the industry's leniency towards using young girls, and thus child labour laws, evade financial transparency and tolerate sexual conduct in the workplace. At the onset of New York fashion week the CFDA is working closely with the organisation to ensure there is no backstage exploitation, which includes a ban on backstage access to persons not required for dressing or part of the hair & makeup teams.
New York's fashion schedule will have over 90 designers showcasing their collections, which means a plethora of model bookings and also potential incidents.
"Models have won the genetic lottery. They are tall, they are beautiful, they get paid for walking," said Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at New York's Fordham University and an alliance board member.
With many models entering the industry at a young and vulnerable age, the Alliance will protect young girls who perhaps have less awareness and are unsure how to deal with questionable situations.
Image: Lara Stone