The Fashion Industry Grapples with Model Safety Post-#MeToo


In 2016, casting director James Scully delivered a public plea to end the “cruel and sadistic” treatment of models at Business of Fashion’s VOICES conference. Two years later, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo’s entry to Hollywood, the fashion industry is still struggling to address the abuse of models. Luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering united to create a Model Safety Charter, but it is unclear how to make its rules enforceable. Condé Nast also has a model safety code as of January 2018, and the organization Model Alliance launched RESPECT Programme, a legally-binding model protection agreement, in May. Another strategy has been the Responsible Trust for Models, or RTM, which provides certification to “good” agencies. Still, there is more change to be done. According to insiders, a huge part of the problem is that models are not considered “professionals,” and therefore are not given due respect. This is particularly interesting given the large contingent of female models concerned in the issue.

For Further Reading

Want to know more? Take a look at Refinery29’s discussion of fashion’s #MeToo moments.


Discussion Question

What do you think the fashion industry owes to models? Should companies and agencies be held accountable for their safety?


Action Item

Pose the above question to a few people you know, whether they are interested in the fashion world or not. Consider their answers—do they indicate anything about the general attitude towards models themselves?  



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