CULTURE

The Modeling Industry Is (Supposedly) Getting a Monumental Overhaul, Just in Time for Fashion Week

After decades of models detailing their mistreatment, the two luxury powerhouses (and rivals) LVMH and Kering have teamed up on a charter outlining strict guidelines for the biggest brands in fashion that are so reasonable, they seem too good to be true.


Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

Today, longtime competitors and luxury conglomerates Kering and LVMH announced that they are creating a charter to protect the wellbeing of models in the future, something each feels they “have a specific responsibility, as leaders in the industry,” to do.

The charter, which starts just in time for the spring 2018 show season that kicks off today with New York Fashion Week, applies to all of their brands and “goes one step further” to pay “particular attention to ensuring good working conditions”; indeed, the stringent guidelines they’ve released seem almost too good to be true. Brands are banned from hiring models under 16 to take part in shows or shooting if they’re representing “an adult,” and models between 16 and 18 will be barred from working between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Oh, and they’ll also have to have a chaperone or a guardian, meet their “school-attendance obligations,” and work in a completely alcohol-free environment.

If these guidelines are held up, it’ll completely up-end the rapid-fire pace at which the industry operates during Fashion Week; models often don’t know until the last minute if they’ll be in a show, leading to castings and fittings into the late hours of the night. (This seems to be particularly unavoidable this week, as many of the rail-thin models already cast for the New York shows likely don’t meet the new sizing requirements, which presumably will mean squeezing in even more castings.)

What Hailey Baldwin, Mackinley Hill, and More Aspiring Angels Wore to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Casting

Model Hailey Baldwin attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Cindy Bruna attends fittings for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Timur Emek/GC Images.

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Model Amilna Estevao attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Hailey Clauson attends castings for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Timur Emek/GC Images.

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Model Grace Mahary attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Flavia Lucini attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Jasmine Tookes attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Ming Xi attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Lameka Fox attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Leomie Anderson attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Bruna Lirio attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Models Julia van Os, Daphne Groeneveld and Sanne Vloet attend call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Martha Hunt attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Melie Tiacoh attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Riley Montana attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Gizele Oliveira attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Dilone attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Models Taylor Hill and Mackinley Hill attend call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Jacquelyn Jablonski attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Charlee Fraser attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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Model Maartje Verhoef attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 22, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Gotham/GC Images.

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An overhaul, though, seems to be exactly what LVMH and Kering are calling for, given that the guidelines don’t end there: From now on, all of their brands must work with models who are able to “present a valid medical certificate, attesting to their good health and ability to work, obtained less than six months before the shooting or the fashion show”—and then also themselves provide a psychologist or therapist at the model’s disposal during their working time. If that working time extends past 8 p.m., brands also must provide transportation for the models to get home.

Of course, for many up-and-coming models, especially the majority of whom come from overseas, and many of whom don’t speak English, a medical certificate may be a bit hard to come by—and if it then turns out that in French sizes they’re a woman who’s a 32, and a man who’s a 42, there’ll be no point in showing up to castings, since they’ll then be banned. (Casting agents will from now on need to present brands with only women models sized 34 and up, and male models 44 and up; it’s unclear what size requirements will be made for those who don’t identify with a specific gender.)

For those who do end up getting cast, though, they’ll supposedly find a spread of food and drinks that comply with their dietary requirements, along with “useful information to maintain a healthy diet throughout the working day.” They’ll also have plenty of company throughout the shoots and shows, apparently to avoid any opportunities for assault: While nude during a shoot or getting dressed, they will “will never be alone with a person linked to the production or a photographer.” (In 2012, a Model Alliance study found that 29.7 percent of female models had experienced inappropriate touching at work, and 28 percent had been pressured to have sex at work.)

Meet Modeling’s New Faces: Diverse, Inclusive and Empowered

From left: Alexander McQueen coat, trousers, and sneakers. Burberry shirt and shoes. Thom Browne tailcoat jumpsuit and shoes. Charles Jeffrey Loverboy jacket and trousers; Beladora pocket watch; Raf Simons shoes. Alexander McQueen coat and trousers; Christian Louboutin shoes. Wales Bonner jacket, shirt, and trousers; Worth & Worth by Orlando Palacios hat; Maison Margiela shoes. John Varvatos jacket; Alexander McQueen shirt and trousers; pin from Melet Mercantile, New York; medal from Early Halloween, New York; Raf Simons shoes. Ann Demeulemeester jacket, trousers, and boots; sash from Early Halloween, New York. Alexander McQueen jacket, shirt, trousers, and pin; Worth & Worth by Orlando Palacios hat; Jimmy Choo shoes. Ermanno Scervino dress; Anne Fontaine bow; A. Brandt + Son earrings; Pologeorgis fur stole; LaCrasia Gloves gloves. Erdem dress; Beladora earrings; Prada shoes. Carolina Herrera belted dress; Adrienne Landau fur collar; Gucci heels. Alexander McQueen dress; Jennifer Behr headpiece; necklace from Eleuteri, New York. Gucci dress; Stephen Russell earrings; Adrienne Landau fur stole; Cornelia James gloves. Chanel dress and pin; A. Brandt + Son earrings. Simone Rocha coat, trousers, and gloves; Rebecca Taylor blouse; De Beers earrings; Chanel heels. Rodarte dress; necklace from Doyle & Doyle, New York; Gaspar Gloves gloves; Miu Miu sandals. Gucci dress; Beladora earrings; Leo Pizzo ring.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

From left: Marc Jacobs coat and dress; Stephen Russell earrings; LaCrasia 
Gloves gloves; (right hand) Stephen Russell ring; (left hand, from left) A. Brandt + Son ring; Fox & Bond ring; Mark Cross bag; Miu Miu platforms. Wales Bonner cape and shirt; Ermenegildo Zegna trousers; pin from Melet Mercantile, New York; Raf Simons shoes. Beauty note: You’ll be seeing blue with MAC Crème Shadow x 6 in Glamorize Me.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

From left: What Goes Around Comes Around jacket; Dries Van Noten trousers; epaulets from New York Vintage, New York; braiding from Early Halloween, New York; Church’s shoes. Hermès jacket and skirt; pins from Doyle & Doyle, New York; cameo brooch from Eleuteri, New York; Oscar de la Renta gloves; Nancy Gonzalez bag; Nine West shoes.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

From left: Alexander McQueen jacket 
and trousers; Pierre Hardy shoes. Alexander McQueen dress, harness, and necklace; SheBee earrings; Attico bag. Beauty note: Frank Body Glow Mask keeps complexions in line.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

From left: Tom Ford jacket, trousers, bow tie, and cummerbund; Emma Willis shirt; kilt pin from Melet Mercantile, New York; medal from Early Halloween, New York. Balenciaga jacket and trousers; sash and medal from Early Halloween, New York; Beladora pin.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

From left: Prada trench, crop top, skirt, bag, and sandals; Patricia Underwood feather headpiece and turban; Beladora earrings; Leo Pizzo rings. Gucci jacket, shirt, trousers, neck bow, and shoes; medal from Early Halloween, New York.

Photographs by Ethan James Green, Styled by Edward Enninful

Clockwise, from bottom left: Burberry capelet and dress; Lelet NY headband; Fox & Bond earrings; Beladora watch; Cornelia James gloves; Bertoni 1949 bag; The Row heels. Anderson & Sheppard jacket; Burberry shirt and trousers; (clockwise, from left) medal from Kaufman’s Army Navy, New York; medal from Melet Mercantile, New York; medals from Early Halloween, New York; Thom Browne shoes. Anderson & Sheppard jacket; Burberry 
shirt and trousers; medal from Early Halloween, New York; 
Beladora pocket watch; Grenson shoes, Burberry capelet and dress; La Perla nightgown; Cornelia James gloves; Bertoni 1949 bag; The Row heels.

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All this, of course, sounds great, especially after the New York Times kicked off Fashion Week yesterday with an investigation into what it’s truly like to be a fashion model, detailing how for many in the industry, experiences like being told to consume nothing but water for 24 hours, going five figures into debt (even though you’ve been a face of Prada), being told you’re too pretty to be black, and being charged with sticking to a 700-calorie diet for being “pudgy” at just 14 years old, are just a normal part of the job.

Those types of experiences are unfortunately not surprising for anyone in the industry, but especially for up-and-comers—and especially for models of color, who’ve long been essentially kept out from fashion, to the point that the fact that just a single model of color managed to appear in every New York presentation last season was a crowning achievement of New York Fashion Week.

Kate Moss’s 1992 campaign for the Calvin Klein with Mark Wahlberg, which made her so uncomfortable, she later said it prompted a [nervous breakdown](https://fashionista.com/2012/10/kate-moss-says-that-calvin-klein-shoot-with-marky-mark-gave-her-a-nervous-breakdown).

Even supermodels, however, are subject to the same treatment, and don’t even seem to have a voice; the biggest names in fashion have been calling out these issues for decades, from Kate Moss saying that one of fashion’s most legendary images, the Calvin Klein ad she shot topless against her will at 17, prompted her to have a nervous breakdown, to Naomi Campbell insisting the treatment of black models today is just as bad as it was when she began her career. Karen Elson has long discussed how the industry exacerbated her eating disorder, and Karlie Kloss has been unable to escape being called “too fat” and “too skinny” by casting agents in one day.

Finally, however, their voices—or at least the voices of the customers and others in the industry complaining—finally seem to have gotten through. And while it’s unclear whether Kering and LVMH can uphold their extremely ambitious promises, they’ve definitely guaranteed one thing: That the industry will be carefully watching whether they will over the course of the next month, starting today.

Related: Karlie Kloss Was Called Both ‘Too Fat’ and ‘Too Skinny’ in One Day by Casting Agents

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