Fashion Updates | Industry Updates

Ahead of Met Gala 2023, Fashion models rally for Fashion Workers Act and call out Karl Lagerfeld.

Published: May 2, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

-By Ankita Dutta.

The Fashion Workers Act, that would offer fashion models in New York basic labour protections, is being pushed for by models with the labour advocacy group Model Alliance. The bill’s objectives include establishing a zero-tolerance stance for misuse, limiting commissions, and making contracts explicit. At the moment, models are frequently taken advantage of, mistreated, and even trafficked, with murky contracts, stolen pay, and forced malnutrition. Models, according to detractors, should be held accountable for the workplace because they are independent contractors rather than workers. The Model Alliance draws attention to Karl Lagerfeld, the focus of this year’s Met Gala and a man
infamous for his difficult workplace and sexist remarks.

According to a recent Fox 5 News article, models are frequently abused, exploited, and perhaps even trafficked in the fashion industry. Fashion model Rozi Levine says that although the glamorous lifestyle of models has its charm, it has a price.

To support the passing of the Fashion Workers Act, a few models with the New York labour advocacy group Model Alliance assembled on Sunday. According to Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal of New York State, it is absurd that models are not covered by fundamental labour laws.

The bill, which the New York State legislature is presently debating, would compel management organisations to set a limit on commissions and make contracts transparent. Additionally, it would implement a zero-tolerance abuse policy.The Model Alliance points out that fundamental labour rights are lacking for New York fashion models, and their contracts are frequently ambiguous. Theft of wages, acceptance of sexual assault, and forced starvation all occur.

Levine asserts that when they are paid at all, models are occasionally compensated in apparel. Additionally, she claims that models frequently await months for paychecks before learning how much they will receive versus how much they are expected to receive. All of this is taking place in the background of Monday’s Met Gala, that has a divisive theme this year. This year’s event will centre on designer Karl Lagerfeld, who the Model Alliance notes is notorious for his problematic and misogynistic workplace.

“If you don’t want your pants to be pulled around, don’t become a model,” Lagerfeld famously said in 2018. He had expressed his dissatisfaction with the MeToo campaign and the recently implemented rules in the fashion business before making this statement.

Given everything mentioned above, the Fashion Workers Act, a bill that would give models in the fashion industry much-needed protections, is right now under consideration in the New York State legislature.

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