“Recent months have seen a seismic shift in public discussion of sexual misconduct in the workplace — and the fashion industry is no exception — yet it is clear that we as a society are only just beginning to understand the size and scope of the problem.”
So read the opening to Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff's statement released Wednesday in response to Karl Lagerfeld's “disgraceful comments” in a Numero Magazine interview last week, noting how they “underscore just how much work we still have to do.”
It should be noted that Lagerfeld once insisted to Elle UK, “I’m very much into [feminism], and my mother was also a great admirer of a certain feminist of the 19th century,”
Ziff said, “While not surprising (Lagerfeld is well-known for offensive comments and body-shaming women for their weight and appearance), Lagerfeld’s assertion that models should ‘join a nunnery’ if they don’t want their pants pulled down is, nonetheless, outrageous.”
She furthered, “Demeaning treatment and pervasive conditions of sexual harassment and abuse have plagued the fashion industry for far too long — and as they are finally coming to light, the people who enable these conditions must be held accountable. Mr. Lagerfeld’s flippant dismissal of reports of abuse, and his characterization of models who have come forward as ‘stupid,’ ‘toxic’ and ‘sordid creatures’ who should quit their profession if they do not like how they are treated surely demands action.”
She continued by asserting the need for her work with The Model Alliance.
“The Model Alliance and its allies refuse to tolerate bullying or abuse — be it physical or verbal — in our industry. The fashion industry should be a place where creativity and self-expression flourishes, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect on the job. Times have changed — and, with it, fashion’s moral standing and accountability must as well.”
MORE FROM OUR BLOG