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Models launch new Alliance in NY

By Emily Cronin

Model and documentarian Sara Ziff founded the Model Alliance after experiencing years of abusive or statute-infringing treatment in her fashion work.

‘Our goal is to work with progressive modeling agencies to give models in the U.S. a voice in their workplace and organize to improve their basic working conditions in what is now an almost entirely unregulated industry,’ Ziff said in a statement.

Through initiatives like the Models’ Bill of Rights and the Backstage Privacy Policy, the Alliance plans to campaign for better labour conditions, educate models about their rights and establish a reporting hierarchy for grievances.

Ziff has secured the support of Coco Rocha, writer (and former model) Jenna Sauers, and Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at New York’s Fordham University, to further the Model Alliance’s mission.

In a video produced to herald the Model Alliance launch, board members described modelling as the next frontier in the struggle for workers’ rights.

‘When you know you’re highly replaceable, it’s not so easy to speak out about inappropriate behaviour,’ Sauers said.

Scafidi added: ‘The Model Alliance can help the fashion industry make sure that the beautiful images that we create are also backed up by moral expectations and codes of behaviour.’

The Alliance has already collaborated with the Council of Fashion Designers of America on Diane Von Furstenberg’s latest Health Initiative guidelines. In her recent letter to CFDA members, Von Furstenberg asked designers to ‘consider model privacy’ by barring photographers from backstage area as models are changing into show looks—a direct result of one of the Alliance’s core initiatives.

‘Nobody deserves to be exploited for the sake of fashion,’ Ziff said. And thanks to the dawning age of the Model Alliance, there may be fewer tales of poor treatment ahead.

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