Months after appearing in and making the documentary “Picture Me,” which details the downsides of American modeling, Sara Ziff is on a mission to regulate the industry.
That effort involves the establishment of The Model Alliance, a professional organization for models in the U.S. that she wants to form early next year. The objective is to give models a voice in the workplace and to organize for better working conditions. Along with a consortium of advisers from Fordham University’s Fashion Law Institute, Ziff is drafting a code of conduct and industry standards.
“The modeling industry is essentially unregulated,” Ziff said in an interview. “As independent contractors, models don’t have the same basic workplace protection as a lot of other industries do. They don’t have workmen’s compensation. They often don’t have access to affordable health coverage. There are no provisions for rest and meal breaks [during work hours]. There is little recourse for issues of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. And a lot of modeling agencies have a huge amount of power over international girls because they sponsor their visas.”
The Fashion Law Institute is setting up a clinic to meet with models in order to get a better sense of their legal rights and most frequent problems. Ziff said she has not started recruiting models for the alliance.
The institute in October hosted a screening of “Picture Me” and followed up last month with a panel discussion featuring Ziff. Sexual harassment, eating disorders and poor financial management are among the subjects tackled in the 80-minute film, which Ziff made with her former boyfriend Ole Schell.
Ziff, a Columbia University senior who is studying American politics, said she has cut back her runway work to focus on getting The Model Alliance off the ground. A Web site is in development to help spread the word about what she expects to be a nonprofit organization.
Ziff, who is represented by the Marilyn Agency, said she is encouraged by the support from such industry types as Nian Fish, acting chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Health Initiative, and Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute. Ziff’s academic adviser at Columbia, Dorian Warren, a politics professor, helped to oversee the project.
Ziff hopes to do something similar to what the organization known as Equity did in the U.K. in 2007. But unlike Equity, she does not plan to offer union membership. She said she considered unionizing but decided against it partly because of the failure of The Models Guild in the U.S. Of the alliance, she said, “This has unique potential. The Fashion Law Institute is helping. And it already works with different agencies to make sure the reform we want to put in place is enforced.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty