Equity’s Model Union
In 2009, British Equity opened its doors to models as the first independent representation of its kind for models in the fashion industry. Described by Marie Claire as a “pioneering campaign,” the Equity Models Network is co-ordinated by models Eva Fahler, Dunja Knezevic and Victoria Keon-Cohen. The Network is appointed by and comprised of working models based in the U.K. and member of Equity. Together, they labor to improve working conditions and to inspire everyone in the industry to make the necessary changes to achieve a working environment based on respect, support, and understanding. The 2009 Model Programme is the product of the union negotiating, and is supported by the British Fashion Council, the Association of Model Agencies, and the Greater London Authority as the first transparent agreement documenting models’ basic rights for fashion week. It includes provisions governing minimum rates, breaks, transport outside work hours, temperature control at shows, guaranteed access to food and water, nudity regulations, and image usage restrictions. In 2013 they negotiated the “Ten Point Code” to include the protection for models when working in photo shoots. Since then the code has been signed by the British Vogue, Debenhams and Next fashion brands. Union membership is available to any working model without fear of blacklisting or discrimination. The union provides facial disfigurement insurance, health insurance and injury compensation, legal support and advice, nutritionists, counselling, accounting services, confidentiality protection and the opportunity to be a member of the models’ network. British Equity is a member of the International Federation of Actors, a network of entertainment unions of which U.S. Actors’ Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors are also members.
“Models standing up for themselves? It can only be a good thing for the industry.” – The Independent