OP-ED: Should There Be a Guild for Models?
by ATFDC Contributor Kelsi Zimmerman
It is no question in today’s society that fashion models are too thin, whether they are runway or commercial, there is constant criticism about the unrealistic size of the models who are being used to sell garments that are not just designed for size “double zero”. In fact, it has become such an issue that the “President of the Fashion World” herself; Anna Wintour, backed Conde Nast International’s movement just last month stating that Vogue would no longer hire models who appear to be “too thin” or that are under the age of 16. Wintour’s movement is being so strongly enforced that now casting directors are checking IDs at casting calls.
So this raises the question, should there be a model’s guild whether it is an international model’s guild or one at the local level? A guild that could possibly serve as a support system; hosts training/workshop opportunities, offer mental and physical health treatments, etc. In Conde Nast’s statement last month, Vogue stated that they would start a mentoring program to raise awareness of the well-being and health of models. Additionally, as of right now, there is The Model Alliance; an alliance whose mission is to ensure models receive fair treatment in the workplace by meeting real and ethical standards, however at this point in the development of the fashion industry there is a much higher demand for a stronger, more unified support system that a “Model’s Guild” can only provide.
Models serve as a major part of the fashion industry as their job objective is to serve as a canvas for the consumer, models embody the garments that are presented to a designer’s clients, the buyer; who ultimately choose the fate of the designer’s collection. Therefore, the physical as well as mental state of the model must be up to par to be able to make it through New York’s Fashion Week where the model runs from a show at the Lincoln Center to a presentation at Milk Studios and then back to Chelsea for a casting call. Such a hectic and heavily criticized career calls for a strong unit of support that is necessary to keep them going, let alone in decent health.
Ideally, a national model’s guild would allow perspective models to join and primarily serve as a support group for one another based on their common interest. A division between commercial models and runway models would be formed with subdivisions according to the various demographics of the models. The guild would generally provide a place to reinforce the health and well-being for each model and prepare and train each model for casting calls and perspective “gigs” as well as a place to provide job opportunities.
For a position that is so key in the life cycle of a garment in a designer’s collection, the support and unity of all perspective models for any position is of utmost importance. Besides, if Anna Wintour is backing something, anyone that wears clothes should follow along.
Featured Photo Credit: The Gloss
A 21 year old Maryland Native and Senior Fashion Merchandising major at Stevenson University fashion has consumed Kelsi’s life from a young age and continues to as she travels to experience the fashion scenes from various cities across the world. Kelsi is thrilled to be back in the DMV and help bring to light the rising fashion scene right here in DC.