Thirty models have alleged that Australian designer Shardz Houranis groped and verbally harassed them on fashion shoots.
The models sharing their stories about posing for Houranis’s fashion label Sanija Fashion are posting cautionary tales on the Facebook page “Say NO to Sanija Fashion.” Tia Wright, a 19-year-old model created it, and here’s the exact wording from the group:
“WARNING ALL LADIES! SANIJA FASHION label is not a nice brand/person to work with … This label is very [degrading] for women and none of the many girls that have come from this label have been treated respectfully,”
The posts, read on their own, and more so in sum, mount a serious case against the Houranis. What the models are alleging would define sexual assault: unwanted sexual touching, threats, and sexual advances during modeling work. Houranis has not been proven guilty of doing any of this, but it’s hard to read everything these models have posted all together and maintain the belief that this man in the picture is just adjusting bathing suits, although it’s possible. So far, there has been one police report covered in the news, but several models are coming forward with their names on this page, which may set a precedent for similar platforms, as other models are already requesting similar pages for others. (We all know these abuses are a widespread popular artistic tactics in the fashion industry.)
Here’s what some of the models are saying about how he engaged in the kind of conduct that earned him a pervert shaming Facebook page all his own. Commenter Rachael Adelaide Seackitey wrote, “This putrid termite sexually assaults his female models he tries to give out contracts in exchange for sexual relations with the females he promises to work to.” She added that he left bruises on the arm of her friend, another model.
Lianna Speers wrote: “When changing behind the set, Shardz would often poke his head around the side to check if everything was fitting correctly. He gave me no notice when he popped his head around, and my reaction was quickly spinning around so he could only see my naked back.”
(Her tale includes more creepy screen shots of Houranis allegedly insisting that they go on a date and the shady modeling deal with text messages.)
Wright told Fairfax Media that Hourani “groped” and “demeaned” her at four separate swimwear photoshoots last year, and Tayla Novelli also said she experienced degrading treatment working with Hourani.
The Sanija Fashion designer page is down, but we’ve reached out for comment and will update this post if we hear back.