The Model Alliance promotes fair treatment, equal opportunity, and sustainable practices in the fashion industry, from the runway to the factory floor.
By assisting models and other stakeholders in understanding the laws applicable to them, and by encouraging them to have a voice in their work, the Model Alliance identifies common areas of concern in the fashion industry, conducts strategic research with leading research institutions to inform policy initiatives, and educates the industry and the public about our core issues.
Model Alliance is a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for Transformative Action, a 501(c)3 organization.
“Surely one of the great ironies of the modern world is that democracy, imperfect as it is in the political realm, seldom extends to the workplace.”- George Cheney
The Model Alliance has a broad vision for labor solidarity. We believe the fashion community occupies a power platform to campaign for transformative change. To effect change, however, people working in the industry need to have a voice in their work. That “voice” can take many forms, from industry surveys to committees and campaigns.
As the faces of the fashion industry, models are in a unique and powerful position to inject a new labor consciousness into fashion—one that encourages fair treatment, equal opportunity, and more sustainable practices in this highly influential, global industry. By organizing a dynamic group of models, industry stakeholders, and academics, we aim to foster a mutually supportive eco-system of industry leaders who will harness their distinct strengths to promote greater transparency and accountability in the fashion industry, both at home and abroad.
Together, we can improve the fashion industry from the runway to the factory floor.
The RESPECT Program
The RESPECT Program is a program of the Model Alliance that invites companies in the
fashion industry to make an enforceable commitment to stop harassment and other forms of abuse. The RESPECT Program aims to address issues of:
- eating disorders and pressures to lose weight
- discrimination or harassment of any kind
- lack of timely payment and financial transparency
- absence of a proper complaint mechanism
- absence of a clear, coordinated process to address complaints
- absence of enforceable industry standards and best practices
- retaliation against models who speak out, and more.
Under the program, models and freelance creatives will be able to file confidential complaints that will be independently investigated, with real consequences for abusers. There will be training and education so everyone knows their rights.
Designed by models and our allies, RESPECT is the only initiative that is based on models’ concerns, experiences and priorities. For more information on the RESPECT Program, please visit programforrespect.org
Community Engagement and Education
The Model Alliance hosts events and maintains a social media presence aimed at raising awareness for its core issues. To date, in 2017, we have held three events:
- In January, we held a strategic planning session with Harvard professor Dr. Bryn Austin regarding our research study on health and eating disorders. The session resulted in our #DearNYFW campaign, which saw the most diverse New York Fashion Week to date.
- In February, we held a meeting for our members with the National Eating Disorders Association, where models shared their stories of combating eating disorders and ideas for change.
- In June, we held a workshop “Workers’ Rights in NYC’s Fashion Industry” for models and other creative working in NYC’s fashion industry with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards.
Strategic Research and Reports
The Model Alliance partners with leading academic research institutions to assess and better understand issues in the fashion and modeling industries and how they could be addressed. Research partners include the Legal Clinic at Fordham Law School, the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) at Harvard University, and the Applied Psychology Program for Eating and Appearance Research (APPEAR) at Northeastern University. In January 2017, the Model Alliance’s study, “The Results of a Strategic Science Study to Inform Policies targeting Extreme Thinness Standards in the Fashion Industry,” was published in The International Journal of Eating Disorders.
Advice and Support
The Model Alliance advises models and aspiring models on their rights and on the support services available to them. Through Model Alliance Support, models report questions and concerns and we refer them to attorneys when necessary. We collaborate with the Mayor’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards, a dedicated resource for workers in NYC, and we have provided guidance and support to hundreds of models.
Public Speaking Engagements
Model Alliance participates in public speaking engagements to educate the public and raise awareness about our core issues. We respond to requests from universities and the media. We have given talks at Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, and Yale, among others.
A small portion of our activity is dedicated to legislative advocacy. In 2013, members of our team championed the Child Model Act, which extended labor rights to children who work as models in New York State. In 2015, we introduced the Child Performer Protection Act, which would create the first federal protections for child models and other performers in the U.S.