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This Is How Sara Ziff Is Trying to Tackle Sexual Harassment in the Fashion Industry

After the industry was flooded with claims of sexual harassment and abuse by the most influential photographers from the industry, it seemed only normal that models would try everything in their power to let their voices be heard. We don’t blame them at all! In contrary, we’re completely on their side. At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, one hundred models signed an open letter urging modeling agencies, social media outlets and brands to join the Respect campaign. A program aiming to tackle sexual harassment in the fashion industry.

In order to establish real change, supermodels like Karen Elson, Doutzen Kroes, Teddy Quinlivan, Milla Jovovich, Edie Campbell, and more signed an open letter calling out agencies, publishers, and designers to join Respect. American model and activist Sara Ziff who founded the Model Alliance in 2012, a New York-based nonprofit organization, is the face of this movement.

The Model Alliance

Led by founder Sara Ziff, the Model Alliance openly invited the concerned parties to sign a contract that protects models. “The program establishes an orderly and fair process for addressing charges of abuse. It provides comprehensive training and education to models and all industry participants,” said Sara Ziff in an interview with WWD. She goes on by saying: “This program benefits the models, photographers and other service providers, and every company that wants to do the right thing. The only people who don’t benefit are the harassers themselves.”

In our eyes, Sara Ziff has a major point. Because this legally-binding agreement enables models to file complaints through a confidential process. At the same time, it’s protecting them from retaliation and guaranteeing them an investigation by an independent entity. We honestly think this is an honorable initiative and we applaud her for it.

Sara Ziff

Sara Ziff

This process may not be the easy road. It’s a tough battle to fight, but a brave one.

Back In February, the Model Alliance sat down with the CFDA to talk discuss changing areas for models before NY Fashion Week would start. That same month the CFDA issued a statement highlighting three fundamental points: safety, health and diversity to prevent abuse and misconduct. Now, not only are those crucial elements being dealt with, but they’re also fighting to provide a fair payday for the working models.

Photo credits: Into The Gloss, Twitter, Marilyn Agency

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