Models Launch Rights Group Ahead of New York Fashion Week (VIDEO)

A group of models have banned together to launch a rights campaign on Monday calling for worker protections for models in the fashion industry ahead of New York Fashion Week.


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The campaign is being launched by the nonprofit organization called the Model Alliance.

"In the fashion industry models have faces, not voices," a model staring in the campaign video said.

The founder of the alliance, Sara Ziff, has been modeling in the fashion industry for 15 years and said that she started the group because there are too few protection mechanisms in to ensure that models, who often start their careers young and far away from home, are not exploited.

"I saw first hand how the industry sometimes disregards child labor laws, lacks financial transparency, encourages eating disorders, and even tolerates sexual abuse in the work place," Ziff told BBC News.

"The beautiful images that we create in our business need to be backed up by some sort of moral code of behavior so that exploitation doesn't occur," Ziff added.

Models in the United States work as independent contractors unable to form labor unions of their own. Thus, the Model Alliance seeks to offer models a "unified voice" against work place abuses.

The alliance also crafted a draft bill of model's rights that seeks to ensure that child labor laws are enforced, models have access to affordable healthcare, and that they properly compensated for their work. 

The organization also seeks to establish a grievance system for models facing sexual harassment.

"Most models start their adult careers as minors and they labor in an unregulated businesses knowing that they are highly replaceable," Ziff said in a statement.

"We cannot promote healthy images without taking steps to promote healthy bodies and minds, and that starts with giving the faces of this business a unified voice. By giving models a platform to organize to improve their industry, the Model Alliance aims to enhance the vitality and moral standing of the fashion business as a whole," Ziff said in an introductory note on the Model Alliance website.

Click below to see the Model Alliance campaign video.

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