The modeling industry is largely unregulated: Models are independent contractors without basic employment rights like workplace protection and minimum age and wage requirements.
Clips of Girl Model, the ominous looking documentary about a 13-year-old Siberian girl’s foray into the world of modeling, more than piqued our interest when they popped up in March. And while we’d explored the murky back story of the film, we’d yet to see it in it’s entirety. So, naturally, we jumped at the chance to watch the full film at a special ‘fashion industry’ screening last week, hosted by the Model Alliance at the Sunshine Theater in New York. So did industry insiders like Natalie Joos, Scott Lipps, Milla Jovovich, along with a slew of models. Even before Girl Model was released, it caused quite a stir for touching upon such heated subjects as models’ ages, rights and working conditions, which the fashion industry has, in the past, tended to ignore or overlook. But thanks to organizations like the Model Alliance--and films like Girl Model--that's changing. Models’ working conditions and rights are finally being addressed by people in positions to actually enforce changes. And after watching this film, it’s clear that this new found awareness is coming not a moment too soon. Read on for our take on the film, plus find out what Model Alliance directors Sara Ziff and Jenna Sauers had to say about it.
Last night loads of leggy models--A-listers like Shalom Harlow, Doutzen Kroes, Coco Rocha and Crystal Renn among them--gathered at the Standard in the Meatpacking to sip free vodka drinks over loud music. At first glance, a typical fashion party. Only it wasn't. These models were gathered to celebrate the launch of the Model Alliance, a non-profit organization founded by Sara Ziff dedicated to "helping models in the American fashion industry organize for safe, fair, and healthy standards in their workplace."
We here at Fashionista are continually impressed by the efforts the Model Alliance is making to improve working conditions within the industry, so we're teaming up with them to bring you the latest from their movement. We'll be hearing from them about everything from broadening child labor laws to changing the sample size. Today, on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff writes about the importance of extending child labor laws to protect young models.
One of the biggest fashion topics of discussion this year (and the past few years) was American Apparel and its controversy-laden founder and CEO Dov Charney. Since January, Dov and his company have been through a lot. On the controversy end, they've showed pubes and boobs in their steadfastly NSFW ad campaigns, faced several very public sexual harassment accusations, held a plus-size modeling competition with a messy outcome and lost an employee to an industrial knitting machine, to name a few of the stories we can recall. In terms of business, they've come within inches of bankruptcy, received a $15 million cash injection from a group of Canadian investors, and announced a few efforts to get back on track like launching denim, selling through eBay and Bloomingdale's and offering third-party merchandise. While we've all heard about AA's downtown L.A. factory, great wages, and vertically integrated business model, we're still left with questions about why they've struggled so much and what really goes on inside that company--many of which are finally answered in an in-depth piece in the latest issue of fashion glossy Flaunt. Matthew Bedard visited Charney both in Toronto for a company event and AA's L.A. digs and sheds a light on the company's most prevalent issues, including the sexual harassment allegations, financial problems and new plans, manufacturing in the U.S. and more. Click through for the most interesting things we learned (and the most incendiary things Charney said).