Ending Harassment Backstage Is Becoming A NYFW Priority

by MR Magazine Staff

With multiple allegations of misconduct, and models taking to social media to decry sexual harassment, fashion is in the midst of its own #MeToo moment. For Model Alliance founding director Sara Ziff, the current climate offers the possibility for change. “Models have been dealing with these issues for decades, and this behavior has been an open secret, and now we finally have permission not only to talk about it but to act,” shared Ziff on the phone from the Model Alliance’s New York office. “I think a lot of people in our business want to do the right thing, but they haven’t had adequate support; we need to create the infrastructure and enact change so that there is accountability across the board.” One of the first shifts comes in the form of private dressing rooms for models backstage during the shows. Announced yesterday, the collaboration between the Model Alliance and the Council of Fashion Designers of America adds a new layer of privacy behind the scenes. Though the idea seems like common sense, it serves as a break from tradition. In the past, models were expected to change backstage, often in places visible by photographers. In some situations, added screens or curtained-off areas for first looks were provided, but that choice was left to the discretion of the production team. This season a designated changing space will be allotted for those who wish to use it. This move toward a safer workspace has been a long time coming. “This is one of several initiatives that we have wanted to spearhead for a while,” says Ziff. “It wasn’t until now, with the allegations in the fashion and entertainment industries, that it really felt like the industry was ready to take these concerns head-on.” Read more at Vogue.