by Stephen Garner

Federico Pignatelli, founder of The Industry Model Management, Pier59 Studios and creator of the Model’s Bill of Rights, is again banning several modeling agencies—Wilhelmina, Elite USA, Major, Nomad—from the photography studio and fashion week destination.

“The way that models are treated is too often disgraceful,” said Pignatelli. “In an industry that has grown exponentially over the past 30 years but entirely unregulated, I find myself now in the position, as the owner of Pier59 Studios, of demanding that Wilhelmina, Elite USA, Major and Nomad clean up their acts.”

As a champion of model’s rights, Pignatelli hopes that the ban encourages all agencies to take the comprehensive bill of rights seriously as the modeling industry braces themselves for another busy season in the coming month.

“The goal of the Model’s Bill of Rights is to ensure that models are working in safe studio locations and environments, are free from harassment, do not receive legal pressure from their agencies, and, fundamentally, that they are paid in a fair and timely manner without unjustified overcharges,” Pignatelli adds.

Immigration violations are also rampant within the fashion industry. Models are frequently sent to jobs by their agencies without proper documentation, putting them at risk for fines, jail time and even deportation. Further, those models who have been granted visas by their agencies often feel pressured by the very companies that are supposed to protect them, as their immigration status is used as leverage to encourage them to take jobs that they would otherwise turn down.

“The bottom line, young models need to feel educated, empowered and confident to be in control of their career,” Pignatelli comments. “We offer comprehensive education programs at The Industry Model Management to help combat this, but until the rest of the industry starts following the law, we may see little change.”