The Model Alliance
(Left to right) Doutzen Kroes, Sara Ziff, Coco Rocha, and Jenna Sauers at The Model Alliance launch
Fashion’s myth of glamour requires that we don’t often think about the maltreatment of models. However, model-activists Sara Ziff and Jenna Sauers, in conjunction with supermodels like Coco Rocha and Doutzen Kroes, aim to change the way we think about the industry. To that effect, Ziff and Sauers launched The Model Alliance last week, a revolutionary, non-profit organization to remind us that models are human beings, not clothes hangers.
From anti-discriminatory policies to child labor laws, some of the greatest achievements for human rights in the 20th and 21st centuries have involved the advancement of workplace protections. Today, however, casting directors can refuse to cast minority ethnicities without a trace of guilt, while sexual harassment and excessive pressures to be thin abound. In 2010, former model Sara Ziff released her startling documentary, Picture Me, which chronicled such exploitation of models in the fashion industry. One interviewee, Amy Lemons, confessed to substituting meals with cotton balls dipped in orange juice, at the request of her agent to lose weight. It is stories like these that galvanized The Model Alliance movement, dedicated to providing protections in the workplace for models.
The first step is awareness. As consumers, our economic support lies at the heart of the fashion industry’s infrastructure. Because we buy the products that models sell, we must also ensure that our dollars contribute to a healthy, working environment rather than an exploitative one. Those of us who love fashion love the artistry, the craftsmanship, and the beauty of the industry. Let’s make sure that’s what we’re supporting. Find out more information about The Model Alliance online.
Image courtesy of Styleite.