Models team up to stop sexual harassment in fashion industry

A new program created by a group of 100 models demands respect — literally.

According to Cosmopolitanthe 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 ZiffCosmo 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.”

Wasley injects body diversity to ‘SI Swim’

The words “body diversity” were never really associated with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, but thanks to increased efforts to portray all kinds of beauty, things are beginning to change.

Adding even more body diversity to this year’s edition is model Kate Wasley, a body-positivity advocate who, along with her friend and fellow model Georgia Gibbs, created the Any BODY movement to equally celebrate women of all sizes, according to PopSugar. 23-year-old Wasley is known just as much for her curves as she is for her sense of humor — and truth bombs — about beauty, says PopSugar, including her gem on bikini bodies:

“Got a bikini? Got a body? You got yourself that bikini body.”

Both Wasley and Gibbs will make their SI Swim debut when the magazine drops next month, says PopSugar, offering a double-dose of inspiring body positivity and diversity.

Missguided makes inclusive new campaign

Seeing every body of every shape, size and color is always refreshing — especially when it comes in a fashion campaign.

Take Missguided, for example: called the #MakeYourMark campaign, Glamour reports that the new promos star “eight women of all sizes, skin tones, and styles,” and throughout the campaign’s webpage, quotes from each model explaining why they feel the campaign is important are included.

According to Glamour, the move towards creating the inclusive and diverse campaign comes after the company started to not Photoshop their e-commerce models’ photos, instead leaving in noticeable stretch marks and other perceived “flaws.”

Creative manager for Missguided Samantha Helligso told The Daily Mail that their focus on creating a more body positive space comes in an attempt to teach shoppers to love themselves as they are and celebrate what’s right about their bodies instead of pointing out what is “wrong” or “flawed.”

“We’re on a mission to show our audience it’s okay to be yourself, embrace your ‘flaws,’ celebrate individuality, and not strive for what the world perceives as perfection,” she said, according to Glamour. “Because basically, it doesn’t exist. By showing imagery that’s real and authentic, we want to show it’s more than okay to be yourself. All you have is what you’ve got, so own it every day.”

Amen to that! Check out photos from the campaign here.

Diversity in fashion industry surpasses runway shows

The fashion industry inches closer to increased diversity every year, but this year, a new milestone was reached.

According to TheFashionSpot‘s Diversity Report, “fall ad campaigns were considered ‘more diverse’ than previous seasons when it comes to race representation, with models of color representing 30.4 percent of all female models cast,” Bustle reports. Examining 187 major fall campaigns which used a total of 457 female models, the report found that for the first time ever, fashion ads were more inclusive than runway shows.

Here are a few other noteworthy findings from TheFashionSpot‘s report:

  • The percentage of non-white models used in Fall 2017 campaigns increased to 30.4 percent, a 5.9 percent jump from the previous season and the site’s highest recorded increase to date.
  • Plus-size models starring in fashion ad campaigns experienced the slightest dip — 0.1 percent — to a measly 2.2 percent total, as plus models “accounted for just 10 of the 457 castings.”
  • Fall 2017 campaigns saw an increase in usage of both older models and transgender models, with 14 and six casting respectively out of a total 457 models cast.

TheFashionSpot‘s report also highlights the most and least diverse campaigns overall, notes Saint Laurent, Coach and Christian Dior as among the most diverse Fall 2017 campaigns, each boasting a rate of non-white models above 60 percent.

While there is clearly still work to be done in creating an inclusive and diverse fashion industry, every small step leads us to a more representative future.

Chambers unloads on fashion industry

For 36 years, Lucinda Chambers worked for British Vogue, serving last as the publication’s fashion director. But after stepping down from the position in May, Fashionista reports that Chambers has a lot to say about her time at Vogue — and the way in which she left the glossy.

In a new interview with VestojFashionista says Chambers detailed her Vogue exit as not a conscious choice, but instead a decision made for her by the magazine’s new editor-in chief, Edward Enninful, who decided to fire her after taking the reigns.

“It took them three minutes to do it,” she said. “No one knew, except the man who did it — the new editor.”

But that’s not all Chambers divulged. According to Fashionista, the ex-fashion director revealed that working in fashion isn’t all beauty, glitz and glamour. In fact, it’s much more of a business that’s trying to sell the public a particular way of being, thinking and looking. Speaking on fashion magazines as a whole, Fashionista reports that Chambers thinks they have stopped being “useful or empowering.”

“Most leave you totally anxiety-ridden, for not having the right kind of dinner party, setting the table in the right kind of way or meeting the right kind of people,” she said.

Going on to detail even more of the fashion industry’s behind-the-scenes dealings, Fashionista says Chambers admitted to succumbing to the pressures of the industry, even dressing a cover model in Michael Kors top simple because the designer was a major advertiser with the magazine.

Tired of the “smoke and mirrors” of the fashion industry, Fashionista said Chambers had this to say on the industry overall: “Fashion can chew you up and spit you out.”

Everything that glitters is not gold, it seems. To read more about her interview, click here.

Howard’s ‘Black Mirror’ reflects diversity problem in fashion industry

The fashion industry is slowly becoming more diverse; according to theFashionSpot‘s biannual diversity report,  25.4 percent of all models cast in New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion shows were models of color. Yet, despite an increase in more diverse models, the numbers show that the rate of transforming fashion into a more inclusive space is moving at a glacial pace: this recent percentage only increased by 3 percent.

That’s why Los-Angeles based model Deddeh Howard decided to take matters into her own hands. According to Yahoo Canada Style, the model is taking the industry to task in a new photo series entitled, “Black Mirror,” in which Howard recreates “major fashion campaigns that feature white models like Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bundchen and Kendall Jenner.”

Working with photographer Raffael Dickreuter, Yahoo says Howard explained on her site that she decided to tackle the lack of diversity head-on as a result of her personal experiences in the industry.

“Not too long ago it happened to me that I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster. Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, they already have a black model,” she wrote. “It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all.”

Stepping into the place of Kate Moss, Michelle Williams and Candice Swanepoel, Howard proves that she is just as stunning as her fellow models — and her Instagram followers certainly reinforced the meaning of her project. After releasing a few of the photos on her account, Yahoo says Howard has received praise and support in the form of “thousands of likes and comments.”

Writing on the importance of her photos, Yahoo reports that Howard expressed her hope that the photos are — at least — a first step in all women being seen.

“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black President. The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too…With this Black Mirror project I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us being seen.”

To see Howard’s gorgeous photos, click here.

Gunn shoots down fashion industry’s sizing

Between being a mentor on Project Runway and serving on the faculty of the Parsons School for Design, Tim Gunn certainly knows a thing or two about fashion. But in a recent piece for the Washington Post, Gunn says that the very industry he’s been a part of for decades is severely at fault.

According to the Huffington Post, Gunn released an article on Thursday, Sept. 8, taking the fashion industry to task over its lack of size diversity. Pointing out the many women disserviced by the industry, Gunn wrote:

“There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.”

The Huffington Post says Gunn argued that such a dearth of sizes and styles available for plus-size women makes for — at best — an unpleasant shopping experience. “It’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience,” he wrote.

Gunn even named designers and brands who have openly disavowed creating designs — or even showcasing women —beyond a certain size.

“‘No one wants to see curvy women’ on the runway, Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, said in 2009. Plenty of mass retailers are no more enlightened: Under the tenure of chief executive Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch sold nothing larger than a size 10, with Jeffries explaining that ‘we go after the attractive, all-American kid,'” he wrote.

While he admits that the problem is “difficult to change,” Gunn wrote that it is not impossible, citing “Eloquii for actually getting trendy clothing above a size 12 right, Christian Siriano for stepping in to dress Leslie Jones when she revealed that no designer would dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere, and Lane Bryant as his go-to spot for women above a 14  (although he admits ‘the items aren’t fashion with a capital F’),” in addition to ModCloth, the Huffington Post reports.

Gunn wrapped up his argument by saying that the fashion industry needs to let go of its antiquated standards in order to serve the diverse needs of women today.

“But this is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it,” he wrote. “I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.”

There you have it, fashion industry. Now go and “make it work.”