New York fashion week: for the first time, models enter the private dressing area.
MICHEL MARTIN, host:
If you follow fashion, I don’t need to tell you that New York fashion week kicks off on Thursday. Now it sounds very attractive, so it might surprise you, because in these programs, the model is expected to change in a large open area without privacy. This practice has caused a certain degree of questioning, partly because after I exercise, female and male models are put forward about sexual harassment complaints, especially some of the top photographers.
So this year, the model advocacy group and the fashion designers council have agreed that models will eventually have private areas of change. We want to know more about this, so we call it Sara Ziff. She is the founder and model of the model alliance. This is the non-profit advocacy group we just mentioned. She is now with us from New York. Sara Ziff, thank you so much for joining us.
SARA ZIFF: thanks for having me.
Martin: well, first of all, you’re going to describe the scene to those of us who’ve never been to a high-end fashion show, not to mention that we’ve never been behind the scenes? So can you describe it for us?
ZIFF: the background of fashion week is quite hectic. I started working at the age of 14. Photographers sometimes, the background is a little aggressive, they are trying to get their attention, and didn’t pay attention to the fact, that is, you know, we basically just stood there, naked, just trying to change the G string. And then, you know, there are all kinds of people, especially when the program is over. The participants tended to congratulate the designer in the background, and we had already left, you know, we tried to put on our clothes.
ZIFF: it already appears. You know, six years ago in 2012, I formed a model alliance with the support of other models and stakeholders from different industries. Our first question is about the lack of privacy in the background. There’s a feeling, you know, oh, hush, poor fashion model. Your income looks very beautiful. Now, you know, just be quiet.
And, you know, objectification of model body does create model is regarded as more like props, without considering their attention to privacy is a personal and rationalization, and do you know the dignity of the background. You know, the pursuit of a model career should not be seen as tacit consent to sexual harassment.
Martin: so, if you agree to imitate a PROM dress, for example, when you’re waiting for a PROM dress, it doesn’t give people the right to take your picture in the background. That’s what you meet here.
Long: that’s right. Is. I mean, if she’s in the show, she’s walking on the runway in her dress, her model doesn’t imply that she agrees to take a picture when she’s naked, you know, trying to change the background.
Martin: what do you think – I mean, as you said, you’ve been in this industry for a long time. You’ve been fighting for these changes for a long time. You think you’re somewhere?
ZIFF: people will. I think for the first time in a long time, people finally heard it. You know, the media landscape has changed, and that’s an important part of it. In 2009, I produced a documentary called “Picture Me”, which recorded my experience with other models in the industry. Others tell stories of sexual abuse and beatings. When the movie came out, it was interesting that the New York times reviewed their comments in 2010 and said it was worthless because social commentary was so disturbing.
Now, of course, “the New York times” support for women, especially female actors, they put forward the allegations of Harvey weinstein, now male model for photographers like Mario winters’ gilardino and Bruce weber made a speech. So I’m sure the media is playing a huge role in this. I think the industry, you know, people worry about reputational risk. I think the industry thinks they need to take these issues more seriously than ever.
Martin: that’s Sarah ziff. She is the founding director of the Model Alliance. She was very friendly and asked us to call her at her home in New York. Sara Ziff, thank you so much for talking to us.
ZIFF: thank you very much.