It’s been a game-changing year for the Model Alliance, and we are excited and ready for a productive year ahead. As we embark on our seventh anniversary, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our progress.
In 2018, we worked tirelessly to foster a safe and respectful work environment in the fashion industry. To that end, we were proud to partner with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to create the first private changing areas backstage at New York Fashion Week.
We also conducted legal research in partnership with Fordham Law School, offered policy recommendations to New York City officials, and celebrated the passage of the Stop Sexual Harassment Act in NYC, a legislative package aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. At the press conference, our founding director Sara Ziff introduced Mayor Bill de Blasio, who acknowledged her efforts in being steadfast in “calling for meaningful change.”
We educated the public at academic conferences and events, including speaking engagements at Columbia University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the New York City, State and Federal Bar Associations, NYU School of Law, and Parsons School of Design, among others. Further, we leveraged social media and traditional media to raise awareness for pervasive abuses in the industry and the need for meaningful, lasting change.
At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, we announced the RESPECT Program – a program designed to prevent and address (among other issues) sexual harassment and economic abuse of models and other freelance creatives in the fashion industry. RESPECT uses an approach called “worker-driven social responsibility” that puts workers at the center of designing and implementing solutions. This approach has been wildly successful in other industries to root out previous, seemingly intractable worker abuses.
Over 200 models, including many leading names (Gisele Bündchen, Karen Elson, Doutzen Kroes, Teddy Quinlivan and Edie Campbell, to name a few), support this industry-wide initiative, and we have been in earnest negotiations with companies. In their September issue, Vogue highlighted the RESPECT Program as a next step for the fashion industry; The New York Times called it one of the “most ambitious solutions” to address sexual misconduct in the Time’s Up era.
Together, we are going to accomplish great things – and we can't thank you enough for your enthusiasm and support. Looking forward to a productive 2019!