Caroline Rush ShowStudio 2016 Fashion Film Awards

MODEL CITIZENS: The British Fashion Council has teamed with the British Fashion Model Agency Association in an effort to make models’ lives safer — and easier. As part of The Models First Initiative, the two parties plan to set guidelines for appropriate work practices and help models negotiate visa regulations in the run-up to Brexit.

The BFC said it plans to help create a charter the industry can adhere to, and create a safe space where models and agencies can call out abuse and misconduct. The initiative is a part of Positive Fashion, a BFC pillar that promotes best practices and positive change in the industry.

Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the BFC, said she had been approached by the model agency association to help in setting codes of practice for the agencies and the industry. “They understood the need to develop an independent committee that will challenge agencies, as well as industry norms, to ensure that models are treated with the same respect and care as all employees in the industry.”

Rush said the stories highlighted through #MeToo, the social media hashtag used to spotlight sexual crimes and harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, “has meant that there is no better time for the industry to work together to stamp out any form of maltreatment or abuse.”

She added that the fashion industry is also facing challenges as visa regulations come under scrutiny in light of Brexit “and we need to ensure that access is open and that talented individuals from overseas are not excluded from working in the U.K., diminishing our opportunity to compete on a global stage.”

The BFC’s move comes in the wake of the charter set up earlier this year by Kering and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to ban size-zero models from the catwalk and from fashion shoots and to ensure their well-being. The charter was drawn up after a series of high-profile incidents during Paris Fashion Week in February, including allegations that models were mistreated at a casting for Balenciaga, a Kering brand.

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