March 4, 2020
Fashion Labor Activism Across the Global Value Chain
Join us for a discussion on fashion labor activism with Marissa Nuncio, Executive Director of the Garment Worker Center, Chaumtoli Huq, Professor at CUNY School of Law, and Sara Ziff, Executive Director of the Model Alliance, and Minh-Ha T. Pham, Associate Professor at Pratt Institute. This event will be held in the Alumni Reading Room at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
January 22, 2020
Your rights at work
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Join us at the law firm Quinn Emanuel for a conversation about your rights at work with Ambra Gutierrez, Manisha Sheth and Christopher Kercher. Refreshments will be served.
Gutierrez was involved in a sting operation with the New York Police Department to prove that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2015. Her bravery cracked open the Weinstein case, and she has since become a leading advocate in the #MeToo and TIMES'S UP movements.
Sheth is Co-chair of Quinn Emanuel’s Sexual Harassment and Employment Discrimination practice. She recently served as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Division of Economic Justice at the Office of the New York Attorney General.
Kercher is a seasoned litigator with experience in complex commercial litigation and arbitration relating to contract disputes and employment matters. He has extensive experience providing general legal advice to clients and is a recipient of the Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Award.
October 24, 2019
Fashion, Anxiety and Society: Labor
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Bard Graduate Center
Organized in conjunction with Bard Graduate Center Gallery’s fall exhibition, French Fashion, Women, and the First World War, this conversation will explore contemporary questions about labor is it relates to fashion. With Marissa Nuncio, director of the Garment Worker Center, Minh-Ha T. Pham, associate professor in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute, and Elizabeth Wissinger, professor of sociology at City University of New York’s Graduate Center and at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Conversation curated and moderated by Sara Ziff, founding director of the Model Alliance.
Purchase your tickets here
September 4th, 2019
Community & Conversation
In light of the Jeffrey Epstein case and ongoing concerns about trafficking in the modeling industry, we hosted "Community and Conversation," an event where models shared their experiences to demonstrate the need for greater protections and oversight of the industry. Our partners at John Jay School of Criminal Justice and Safe Horizon were on hand to help provide a framework to better identify and understand models’ experiences in the context of trafficking, as well as the resources available to survivors. Likewise, we’re urging companies to create a safe work environment in the fashion industry by joining the RESPECT Program. We expect this will be the first of many conversations about these issues in our industry as we push for genuine accountability and work towards prevention.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
June 11th, 2019
Does It Really Matter What I Do? Individual Action, Policy and Activism
At a time when activism has become commercialized and glamorized, how can we use our voices to make real change through policy changes and initiatives? How can our individual work have the most impact on a systemic level? Join us to talk about this and more on June 11 from 6-7pm at Good Stuff's pop-up in NYC.
May 9th, 2019
TIME'S UP Gathering
On May 9th, we joined TIME'S UP for an Affiliate and Partner Gathering in Los Angeles. It was energizing to spend the day together and to hear from leaders across industries who are insisting on safe, fair and dignified work for women of all kinds. We can't wait to see what change we drive in the future.
March 8th, 2019
International Women's Day
On March 8th, we celebrated with Kenneth Cole, who hosted a panel on the future of women's representation in the arts. The panel featured MA's founding director Sara Ziff, the CFDA's Sara Kozlowski, filmmaker Katheryn Everett, and actress Mandi Masden.
February 7th, 2019
7th Anniversary Celebration
On February 7th, we celebrated our seven year anniversary at Neuehouse in NYC. Models and industry stakeholders joined together for a screening that highlighted our work to date followed by a positive, solutions-focused discussion about next steps. We are grateful to those who shared their accounts of abuse and trauma that nobody should have to endure on the job. We also thank all those who have spoken out, despite very understandable fears, about unsafe and unfair working conditions in the industry and for calling on industry leaders to commit to meaningful change by joining the RESPECT Program. Thank you to all who have contributed to building this game-changing initiative for our industry -- for using your voice in service of a vision of dignity and respect for all on the job.
To see the images from this wonderful night click here.
January 31, 2019
Global Week of Solidarity with Garment Workers
Join us in NYC on Thursday, January 31 at 1:00pm for lunch and a conversation about how you can support garment workers in the U.S. and Bangladesh in their fight for safe and fair working conditions. This event is being co-hosted by the Garment Worker Center and the International Labor Rights Forum.
Seating is limited. For details, RSVP to email@example.com
December 4, 2018
The Spoke Club, Toronto
Renew: A Conversation on Sustainable Fashion
The Model Alliance hosted conversation on the growing sustainable fashion industry, and what these changes mean for the industry as a whole. We joined by several leading local sustainable Toronto brands and organizations for a panel discussion about their work and how we as a community can reduce our environmental impact when it comes to our closets.
December 4, 2018
The Freelancers Hub, New York City
Creative Responses to the #MeToo Movement
At this panel, Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff joined artists and advocates to discuss our new initiative, the RESPECT Program, and how models and freelance creatives can use their platforms to fight back against sexual harassment and discrimination.
September 10, 2018
NYFW Brunch and #MeToo Discussion
June 28, 2018
Los Angeles Listening Session
The Model Alliance met with Los Angeles-based models to gather feedback on the RESPECT Code of Conduct and next steps for the program.
June 22, 2018
Model Alliance Meeting in NYC
June 5, 2018
Model Alliance Working Brunch in NYC
The Model Alliance held a meet and greet for New York-based models.
May 14-17, 2018
The Well-Being of Models in a #MeToo Economy - Copenhagen Fashion Summit
The well-being of models is not a new topic. Ethical charters going beyond BMI standards have been around for many years. What’s more, increasing numbers of companies have taken action to improve conditions for the faces that represent them. But recent exposure of mistreatment, harassment and exploitation by casting directors, agents and photographers has increased the urgency to safeguard the health and well-being of models and to improve the modeling industry’s underlying systems.
Sara Ziff, Founder and Executive Director, Model Alliance
James Scully, Casting Director, Model Alliance
Edie Campbell, Model
Marie-Claire Daveu, CSO and Head of International Institutional Affairs, Kering
More information here.
April 20, 2018, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Fashion Law 2018 -- New York State Bar Association
In this #MeToo era, the fashion industry continues to grapple with issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault that some argue have long plagued the industry. Please join the Fashion Law Committee for a timely and engaging discussion that will explore the ways industry stakeholders are tackling these issues from a legal, policy and organizational perspective. Hear industry insiders, attorneys and advocates discuss employer obligations and best practices, legal protections available to employees and independent contractors, recent legislative and policy initiatives and the impact the recent scandals have had on the fashion industry.
Andrew W. Singer, Esq., Partner, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
Mirande Valbrune, Esq., Author, #MeToo: A Practical Guide to Navigating Today’s Cultural Workplace Revolution
Sil Lai Abrams, Activist and Writer
Toi Eaton, Chief Human Resources Officer, Blacture
Katherine Rosenfeld, Esq., Partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
James Scully, Casting Director, Model Alliance
Agatha Schmaedick Tan, Esq., The Asian Pacific Legal Resource Center, Model Alliance
April 20, 2018, 5:30 - 7:30pm
A Closer Look: Addressing Sexual Harassment Through State Legislation -- NYU Wagner
Ever wonder how a piece of public policy really comes together? Join WWC on Friday, April 20 for a legislative policy workshop featuring New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues, and Sarah Ziff, Founding Director of the Model Alliance. As the public conversation on sexual harassment in the workplace continues across the nation, Rozic has teamed up with the Model Alliance to advance state legislation that would provide models with new protections against sexual and other forms of harassment in the industry. Rozic and Ziff will give an overview of how their partnership began and the necessary legislative advocacy and procedural processes they continue to engage in for this bill. Following this discussion, we will facilitate an interactive workshop on policy formation and advocacy, tracing a bill’s journey from an idea to a law.
More information here.
April 4, 2018, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Celebration and Conversation with Karen Elson -- Rachel Comey, NYC
Please join Sara Ziff, Shivani Persad, Kenza Fourati, Robyn Lawley and James Scully to celebrate the election of Karen Elson to the Model Alliance's Board of Directors. See photos from the even here.
March 17, 2018
Model Alliance Lunch and Listening Session -- Los Angeles
The Model Alliance will host a lunch and listening session in Los Angeles for agency-represented models. This is an opportunity for models to learn more about our work, and for us to hear from LA-based models about their experiences and how they think the industry could be improved. For more information, click here.
February 9, 2018
2018 Fashion Law Conference - Federal Bar Association
The Federal Bar Association's 5th Annual Fashion Law Conference features an impressive lineup of attorneys and industry insiders who will discuss the advancement of fashion law in today's globalizing world. Join legal professionals and industry representatives on Friday, February 9th in New York City at the Theresa Lang Center at The New School for this exciting conference.
Panel V: Tackling the Workforce: Best Practices from Industry Insiders
Featuring: Katherine Gonzalez , Capital Member, Ferraiuoli LLC
Sweet Joy Hachuela , Principal, The Medici Group LLC
Sara Ziff, Founder and Executive Director, Model Alliance
February 2, 2018
How To Avoid The Next Harvey Weinstein -- NYU School of Law
NYU Labor Center hosts a timely and balanced forum on the use of non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements in the workplace, best practices for companies for preventing sexual harassment claims and handling crisis management, and more.
EEOC Commissioner Charlotte Burrows, Michael Delikat (Global Chair, Employment Litigation Practice -Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe), Professor Samuel Estreicher (NYU School of Law), EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic, James Philbin (The Philbin Law Firm; former General Counsel Maersk), Zoe Salzman (Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady), and Sara Ziff (Model Alliance).
Use promo code ALLIANCE for a reduced registration fee of $15.
November 2, 2017
Ending Sexual Violence in the Global Fashion Industry
Featuring Kalpona Akter, BCWS
Moderated by Vogue's Maya Singer
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE 8, 2017
With the passage of the Freelance Isn't Free Act, we hosted this industry workshop presented by the Office of Labor Policy and Standards, a dedicated City resource for workplace questions and complaints. Given the multi-level structure of hiring in the fashion industry, many models, hairdressers, make-up artists, stylists and photographers share similar experiences with respect to financial transparency and accountability, fair contracts, and control over their work. This workshop was open to professional models and creative artists working in NYC's fashion industry.
February 24, 2017
Our planning session brought together a powerful group committed to improving our industry and beyond. Thank you for sharing your stories and ideas. Your voice matters. This work matters.
January 24, 2017
Join us for a strategic planning session with Dr. Bryn Austin regarding our research study into eating disorders and health standards in our industry. We'll also talk about the upcoming NYFW campaign which aims to build models’ collective power and build community.
March 22, 2016
Read the write-up on this event here
New Frontiers in Organizing: The Model Alliance
February 1, 2016
The Harvard Extension Environmental Club at Harvard University
The Harvard Extension Environmental Club invites you to a special screening of "The True Cost" documentary followed by an expert panel on sustainable fashion, on Friday, November 20th from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Grossman Common Room (51 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA). Discover the true social and environmental costs of the fast fashion industry and hear from industry experts and academics who will share their insights on the challenges and opportunities of making fashion truly sustainable. Light refreshments will be served. Reserve your FREE ticket online at http://sustainfashion.eventbrite.com.
Fashion, Labor and Social Justice
November 5th, 2015
Executive Director Sara Ziff guest lectures on labor issues in the modeling industry and transnational solidarity efforts across fashion's supply chain.
Careers Beyond the Runway
A panel discussion for models who are interested in developing new careers within or outside of the fashion industry.
Monica Watkins (Founder, Art in Motion),
Tara Stiles (Founder & CEO, Strala Yoga),
Paula Viola (Counsel, WME-IMG),
Lisa Davies (Registered Nurse, Lenox Hill Hospital), and
Lauren Gordon (Career Counselor, Career Transitions for Dancers).
View photos from this discussion here
Battle it out in the ultimate ping pong tournament and have your chance to win various prizes! We hope to see you there!
Friday December 12, Show starts at 9pm -- Spin NYC
We're thrilled to announce the launch of our first Model Alliance Calendar, and we hope you'll join us!
The MA Calendar 2015 features portraits of 12 models who we feel represent diversity and women's empowerment in the American fashion industry: Alva Chinn, Arlenis Sosa, Eileen Feighny, Elettra Weidemann, Emme, Geena Rocero, Jaunel Mckenzie, Lily Goodman, Louise Donegan, Lyndsey Scott, Robyn Lawley and Stephanie Shiu.
On September 2nd, 7-11:30pm, at Above Allen, the rooftop bar at Sixty LES, come celebrate with us over hors d'eourves from Blue Ribbon Sushi, open bar from 7:00-9:00pm, and music by exciting DJs. Don't forget to pick up your gift bag filled with goodies courtesy of Howl, Dylan's Candy Bar & GlossyBox!
Tickets reservations are required for entry. All proceeds from the event will support the MA.
To purchase tickets, please visit Eventbrite.
Fresh Faces Brunch
A complementary brunch for new faces and team members. Co-hosted by Sara Ziff, Kat Cooper Brown and Susan Van Tassel at the Tribeca Grand.
See the full post and photos here.
Model Alliance Summer Solstice Celebration
It was a perfect evening and a smashing event at our membership drive and fundraiser at the Mondrian Soho Rooftop.
Check out the full album here.
The Model Alliance was invited to the White House to celebrate the success of the Affordable Care Act. Through our partnership with the Retail Action Project, and with the White House's support, we enrolled our members who were uninsured in affordable health care plans. Sara Ziff and Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, who participated in the campaign and got covered through the partnership, were thrilled to join in the event.
On Wednesday, April 9th, The Model Alliance team enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at The Randolph in Williamsburg. Photographed by Giorgio Arcelli.
On Friday, December 6th, join us for an evening of hot yoga, live music and good karma! This hour-long class will be held at Modo Yoga at 434 6th Avenue, 2nd Floor (corner of 10th Street) in NYC. Suggested donation of $7. Proceeds will go to the Model Alliance.
On Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, Model Alliance's executive director Sara Ziff and advisory board member Coco Rocha will speak at Yale University. The talk was organized by Model Alliance member and Yale student Camille Chambers.
Paula Viola, Alise Shoemaker,
Emme, Anita Bitton,
Alison Nix & James Scully
$30 IN ADVANCE
$40 AT THE DOOR
48 East 23rd Street
Open Bar 9-10 PM
LIVE AUCTION, MUSIC AND—OF COURSE—PING PONG!
Can't attend this event? Donate directly to the Model Alliance here.
Governor Cuomo Signs the Child Model Bill into Law
Read Fashionista's review of our information session here.
On July 31st, 2013, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) hosted an information session featuring Model Alliance's Sara Ziff, Doreen Small, and Susan Scafidi, who explained the child labor legislation to agents, casting directors, show producers, and other industry leaders.
The Business of Modeling: Essential Tips For a Successful Career
Inside The Modeling Industry: A Conversation About Health And Beauty In Fashion
Registration for this event is full. More information on the live webcast here.
Violations En Vogue?
Model Lounge: The Business of Modeling
The Model Alliance is teaming up with Model Lounge to share business tips that every successful model should know. Supermodel Coco Rocha, law professor Doreen Small and Model Alliance Director Sara Ziff will host the event. Model Lounge is an exclusive retreat for female fashion models at invited top 10 modeling agencies. This event is for female models only and it is not open to the public.
Fashion Law Institute Second Annual Symposium
The Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University gathered hundreds of legal experts, fashion industry stakeholders, designers, and lawyers of the future to discuss everything from the impacts of emerging economies on global trade to the future of intellectual property enforcement. There to talk about advertising, Photoshop, labor issues, false claims, and public health were community organizer Seth Matlins, photographer Adam Katz Sinding, computer scientist and Photoshop expert Eric Kee, law professor Barbara Pozzo, lawyer Annie M. Ugurlayan, and Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff.
Matlins, the founder of body-positive organization Off Our Chests, kicked things off with a call-to-arms against the advertising industry for promoting negative self esteem among (particularly) young girls and women. Matlins even raised the possibility of consumers suing brands that foster an unhealthy body image via their advertising, comparing the advertising industry to the National Football Association, which has been the targets of hundreds of lawsuits over head injuries. If the NHL bears a responsibility for players' head injuries, asked Matlins, "what are the responsibilities of the fashion and beauty industries to their consumers?"
In Italy, explained the University of Milan's Barbara Pozzo, advertising is strictly regulated because it is understood to be a form of communication that depends on access to public spaces and airwaves, and should therefore conform to commonly held norms. There are 49 separate provisions governing advertising, and special oversight is directed towards ads that target vulnerable groups like children. Ads have to be truthful, they have to not encourage violent or dangerous behaviors, and they also must adhere to more nebulous conditions -- like respecting "human dignity," and avoiding "vulgarity." Professor Pozzo showed numerous examples of fashion ads that had been banned in Italy, including several high-fashion ads that sexualized violence against women.
In the U.S., explained Ugurlayan, the law holds that advertising claims must be truthful -- and that claims are not exclusively verbal. (A photo of a model with eerily smooth skin, in an ad for wrinkle cream, is making a claim about the advertised product's effectiveness.) She also added that disclaimers -- the tiny print that reads "Lashes enhanced in post-production" on a mascara ad -- are no defense against making false claims.
Sinding said that in his work as a photographer and occasional retoucher, his clients often send images back for more edits, and that the cumulative effect of several rounds of changes can lead to an increasingly unrealistic end product. After making minor edits to a batch of images for a major fashion client he declined to name, Sinding says he got the feedback, "Don't you think it's distracting that her thighs are touching?" So he had to further whittle away the model's body. Sinding also said that in shooting street style photos for major publications he has learned that photos of models and thin people are easier to sell, regardless of how the subject is dressed, than photos of even particularly well-dressed people who happen to be shorter or fatter than models.
Recent Model Alliance interviewee Eric Kee Skyped into the symposium to talk about the technology he helped develop to rate images on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being relatively little altered and 5 being significantly 'shopped.
Ziff put the issue of advertising regulation and the use of Photoshop into the context of models' overall lack of empowerment within the industry. She also pointed out that the issue of body image is often covered in a way that focuses on the effects of fashion ads on women in general -- but rarely examines the effects on the models who have to live up to the industry's standards. "There's a public health issue," said Ziff, that gets a lot of ink, "but there's also a labor issue." Models have died of eating disorders, and the risk of entering recovery and seeing one's work dry up is very real. Even high-profile models, meanwhile, have been Photoshopped after the fact by clients seeking to misrepresent their bodies (like Crystal Renn, who was Photoshopped down to a size 0, and Irina Shayk, who with the help of Photoshop had a lingerie shoot for Spanish GQ turn into a nude shoot). The fact that such misrepresentation happens to girls with industry clout shows how hard it is for younger, less-established models to have a say in how their photos are ultimately published.
— By Jenna Sauers
April 25, 2012
Model Alliance Launch
On Monday February 6th, The Model Alliance was officially launched! Hosted by the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University and Coco Rocha, the event was held at the Standard Hotel, perched above the Hudson River at dusk. Founders Sara Ziff and Jenna Sauers found themselves surrounded by hundreds of colleagues from within the fashion industry. Famous faces Doutzen Kroes, Anna de Rijk and Crystal Renn showed their support and watched as the Model Alliance's first campaign video — produced with help from Bunker Media, B2Pro, and with original music by John Forté of Fugees fame — rolled on the big screen.
The crowd listened attentively as Fashion Law Institute Director Susan Scafidi addressed the abuse of women and girls in the modeling industry. Rocha smiled radiantly as she took to the podium next saying, "I am ultra excited about The Model Alliance." She further noted that many other top models including Agyness Deyn, Behati Prinsloo, Hilary Rhoda, Dree Hemingway and Karlie Kloss have expressed their support for the organization despite not being able to attend the event. "With all of the positive changes that the industry has gone through," Rocha stated, "there is still a long, long way to go."
The Model Alliance was founded as a nonprofit organization committed to establishing a voice for models in the American fashion industry and as Columbia University's American Politics professor Dorian Warren highlighted during his speech, "is part of a growing movement of workers of all kinds."
He drew an interesting comparison between the Alliance's efforts to effect change in the fashion industry and that the NBA and NFL, while congratulating Ms. Ziff for forging relationships with these and other groups aiming to improve their industries.
After the remarks had been made and the video had played, attendees fêted the launch to the sounds of D.J. Ted Gushue, who donated his time to the event. Vodka was courtesy of Smirnoff. But the celebration could only continue for a short while longer as Ziff and Scafidi were bound for radio appearances with Brian Lehrer early the following morning. Professor Warren confided that the Alliance, although fully fledged by the time of its launch, had humble beginnings. It began as an idea for a paper Ziff wrote for an assignment three and a half years ago to finally grow into a reality today. Applause and cheers rang out as Prof. Warren closed, "Hats off to Sara. Hats off to The Model Alliance."
— By Marcia Mitchell
February 8, 2012
Screening and panel discussion of "Picture Me"
On October 25 2010, the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School hosted a screening and panel discussion of Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff's documentary Picture Me. The 80-minute film, co-directed by Ziff and her partner Ole Schell, follows Ziff on the international runway circuit and features interviews with Lisa Cant, Cameron Russell, Gilles Bensimon, and Nicole Miller, among others.
Picture Me shows the behind-the-scenes reality of models' lives — sometimes glizty, sometimes dramatic and raw. Agency debt, sexual harassment, eating disorders and exhaustion from long hours at fashion weeks are all tackled. After the screening, Ziff and Schell joined a panel of industry experts to discuss.
All four members of the Model Alliance board — Ziff, Fordham law school professor Susan Scafidi, Columbia University labor professor Dorian Warren, and former model and Jezebel blogger Jenna Sauers — were represented on the panel, with Scafidi serving as moderator. Also present was model Victoria Keon-Cohen, who is the chair of the models' division of UK trade union Equity, along with the acting chair of the CFDA Health Initiative Nian Fish, casting director James Scully, then-general counsel to the Ford agency Doreen Small, and president of Marilyn models, Chris Gay. As Style.com reported at the time, Gay told the crowd, “The business should be regulated. It would be very tough for us to regulate from within.” Fish, who currently tackles eating disorders and underage employment through the Initiative, agreed.
In Ziff's view, the underlying problem is the lack of a formal professional organization for models working in the American fashion industry. As independent contractors, models have little in the way of workers’ rights, and their youth and disposability makes them particularly vulnerable. And so the Model Alliance was born.
— By Model Alliance staff
October 30, 2010