Upsetting to read about so many deaths and suicides from models in the fashion industry via Sara Ziff’s Model Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for models and leaders in the fashion industry to organize to radically improve the conditions under which models work.
18-year-old Uruguayan model Eliana Ramos died of anorexia just six months after her model sister Luisel Ramos, 22, suffered a heart attack after stepping off a runway. In 2009, 20-year-old Korean supermodel Daul Kim, who walked in runway shows for the likes of Chanel, hanged herself in her Paris apartment just weeks after writing a blog entry that she was “mad depressed and overworked.” Last year, one day before Milan Fashion Week, 22-year-old French model Tom Nicon threw himself to his death from his Milan apartment, as did 26-year old Canadian model Hayley Kohle, and 20-year-old Russian Vogue cover girl Ruslana Korshunova, who leapt from her ninth-floor apartment in New York’s Financial District. Lucy Gordon, formerly the face of Cover Girl, hanged herself in her Paris apartment, and 24-year-old American male model Ambrose Olsen, whose work included campaigns for Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton, hanged himself in New York. This tragic slew of deaths cannot be blamed on the industry alone, but suggest that models deserve healthier standards and need more support.
The Model Alliance is part of a growing movement worldwide to combat this exploitation.
For this reason, I have established the Model Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, with the assistance of fellow models and the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. Our goal is to work with progressive modeling agencies to give models in the U.S. a voice in their workplace and organize to improve their basic working conditions in what is now an almost entirely unregulated industry. How the industry treats its models influences the ideal presented in the magazines, and these images have a powerful, far-reaching effect on women in general.
from Sara Ziff founder of Model Alliance