Fashion's biggest rivals LVMH and Kering launch a wellness website for models to combat abuse


Fashion’s biggest rivals LVMH and Kering launch a wellness website for models to combat abuse

The rival luxury conglomerates have joined forces to achieve a universal agenda

By Shweta Gandhi  February 20th, 2018

Since time immemorial, the fashion industry has been plagued by issues ranging from body image to racial discrimination and transphobia. Recent instances, like the sexual harassment allegations made against international fashion photographers Bruce Weber, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier and stylist Karl Templer have brought to light the abuse and bullying that models go through. In an attempt to counter such misconduct, rival luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering have joined hands to launch a wellness website for models Wecareformodels.com — that aims to empower models with physical and mental well-being while also bring about transparency in the industry. 

“The reality is that everybody that is a part of this community has to be accountable, we have to work together as a team, and that includes the houses, the designers, the business people, the agencies, the models themselves and the families that support them. We as an entire community working in the fashion industry must be responsible on every level to look out for each other and keep each other safe,” believes Stella McCartney, who shares her vision on the website. 

We Care For Models focuses on three crucial aspects that aims to help models and fashion professionals: a charter on the working relations with fashion models and their well-being; a guide to eating balanced meals all year round, especially during fashion week; a how-to manual on managing stress. 

A post shared by james scully (@jamespscully) on Sep 6, 2017 at 11:03am PDT

“I believe it is absolutely essential that key players in the fashion industry drive fresh momentum and support actions with positive impact for society as a whole,” says Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s collections at Christian Dior Couture, in support of the movement. 

This bold move shows how the fashion industry is becoming more sensitive towards addressing the elephant in the room after stories of models — like Edie Campbell, who penned an open letter on the abuse she suffered — surfaced on how they were starving themselves to fit the ’34-inch hip, 24-inch waist, 32 bust’ bill.

Casting director James Scully’s revelation on Instagram of how Balenciaga’s casting directors reportedly left over 150 girls waiting in the dark for over three hours while they went to eat lunch was a horrifying and appalling incident that sparked off a huge debate in the industry of the ongoing misconduct that models were facing.

So true to my promise at #bofvoices that I would be a voice for any models, agents or all who see things wrong with this business I’m disappointed to come to Paris and hear that the usual suspects are up to the same tricks. I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Madia & Rami (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell told them they would have to stay over 3 hours to be seen and not to leave. In their usual fashion they shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermes and Ellie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals. Balenciaga part of Kering it is a public company and these houses need to know what the people they hire are doing on their behalf before a well deserved law suit comes their way. On top of that I have heard from several agents, some of whom are black that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of color. And another big house is trying to sneak 15 year olds into paris! It’s inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls, especially when too too many of these models are under the age of 18 and clearly not equipped to be here but god forbid well sacrifice anything or anyone for an exclusive right? If this behavior continues it’s gonna be a long cold week in paris. Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to to share them for you. It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs. And I encourage any and all to share this post #watchthisspace

A post shared by james scully (@jamespscully) on Feb 27, 2017 at 10:40am PST

Supermodel Gigi Hadid has not been spared from the ridicule either — after being criticised for being “too skinny” when she was walking the ramp at the recently-concluded New York Fashion Week, Gigi slammed the body-shamers on Twitter by revealing that she was suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid disorder which was the reason for her fluctuating weight.

Either you’re too skinny or you’re too fat — the struggle doesn’t end. But leading designers Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano are pushing for body positivity by having plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Sabina Karlsson walk for their Fall 2018 shows at New York Fashion Week

@csiriano #nyfw

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Gender fluidity is being openly accepted too — this season marked the debut of 10-year-old self-proclaimed drag star, Desmond Napoles, aka Desmond Is Amazing, who also champions LGBTQ rights. Closer to home, Lakme Fashion Week saw transgender model Anjali Lama walking the ramp for leading designers like Anita Dongre, Tarun Tahiliani and Anamika Khanna. 

Though this is dealing with just the tip of the iceberg, the good news is that the fashion fraternity is becoming more open and accepting of the underlying issues that have beset the industry for so many years by creating awareness about it. #TimesUp