NEW YORK — The fashion industry’s attempt at using a salary cap to end the $10,000-a-day model phenomenon appears to be backfiring.
The Federal Trade Commission is currently probing the fashion industry for possible price fixing the fees paid to models and has sent letters to many top designers requesting detailed records of past fashion show expenses. Similar requests have gone to modeling agencies.
“They’ve been probing for a year now,” said Joey Hunter, president of Ford Models. “They’re talking to all the models. I don’t think the models are upset,” he said, adding that, despite the cap, models have continued to negotiate high fees. “The rates were all over the place,” he said.
Seventh on Sixth, which sponsors the Bryant Park tent shows, pressed modeling agencies to conform to the following guidelines: Supermodels would get $750 an hour; “top-tier” models would get $600 an hour, and first-time models would get no more than $250 an hour.
An FTC spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny that the agency is probing the fashion industry. In general, however, the FTC would consider price-fixing charges if competitors fixed prices or fees for service, said Michael Antalics, assistant director of the FTC bureau of competitiveness.
In typical FTC price-fixing investigations, the commission orders firms found in violation to avoid such behavior in the future, Antalics said. If firms violate the order, firms can be fined up to $10,000 a day per violation. In addition to issuing cease-and-desist orders, the FTC can issue a complaint that could be litigated before an administrative law judge.

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