A new program created by a group of 100 models demands respect — literally.
According to Cosmopolitan, the mass of models banded together at the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit in Denmark to announce their new Respect program, which “aims to end sexual harassment in the fashion industry.”
Led by Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff, Cosmo reports that the program “asks brands, modeling agencies, and media outlets to sign a contract to protect models,” with the idea being that a legally-binding contract will allow models to file formal complaints, protect them from retaliation and secure an independent investigation into their complaints.
“The program establishes an orderly and fair process for addressing charges of abuse. It provides comprehensive training and education to models and all industry participants,” Ziff said in an interview with WWD, according to Cosmo. “This system benefits models, photographers and other service providers, and every company that wants to do the right thing. The only people who don’t benefit are the harassers themselves.”
Among the models who signed an open letter encouraging brands to join the program are Karen Elson, Doutzen Kroes and Milla Jovovich. While this new initiative aims at greater protections for models, it is not the first to take aim at such measures; Cosmo says the Model Alliance partnered last year with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to provide private changing areas for models.
This program, however, seeks to stand on the shoulders of previous work — and Cosmo says Ziff is heartened by what she’s seen so far.
“I think everyone is very aware of the problems in our industry and others and now we finally are able to move towards solutions.”