Marc Jacobs raised quite a few eyebrows when he cast underage models during New York Fashion Week, flippantly explaining: “I do the show the way I think it should be and not the way somebody tells me it should be.” Now it looks like the details are worse than we had imagined.
Today Jezebel‘s Jenna Sauers — a former model who is on the board of the Model Alliance — took a look at another aspect of the CFDA guidelines. Not only are designers asked to not hire underage models (those under 16), but they are also asked to release minor models (those under 18) from work duties by midnight. Sauers excerpts from 17-year-old Hailey Hasbrook‘s Tumblr (as well as a WWD interview with Hasbrook) to detail the minor model’s experience at NYFW.
In addition to walking for several shows including Proenza Schouler, Hasbrook worked an estimated 30 unpaid hours for Jacobs, staying way past midnight on at least two nights. She walked in both his Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs runway shows, as well as did looks (which Hasbrook aptly describes as being “like a live mannequin”) for the designer. She was compensated in trade, which means she walked away with clothes and accessories.
Not paying runway models is bad enough. But designers not paying their looks models — the girls who spend hours in the studio, doing the unglamorous work of trying on all the garments produced for the collection in however many combinations the designer and stylist deem necessary, performing the emotional labor of working swiftly, professionally and smilingly while a stressed-out design and production team inch closer to killing each other, all absent any explicit promise that their behind-the-scenes efforts will translate into a booking for the much more prestigious runway gig — that’s news to me. When I modeled, doing looks during fashion week was how you earned money to make up for all the magazine editorials, shows, presentations, and myriad other modeling jobs you had to do for free or for trade. Now the looks are for trade, too? That’s bullshit. Working for free for Marc Jacobs — a company that’s majority owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate? That’s complete and total bullshit.
She also notes that French law mandates Jacobs pay the models who work his Louis Vuitton show in Paris, though he does not pay any who work his New York shows. This is, indeed, complete and total bullshit. Please do read the entire post here.