Is the Modeling Industry Beyond Repair?

More and more models are speaking both on and off the record about abuse in the industry

In case you were wondering, James Scully’s bombshell accusations during Paris fashion week have (thankfully) not faded away.

Though the specifics of the casting he called out are murky, with Maida Gregori Boina denying any wrongdoing, a wider conversation about abuse in the modeling industry has opened up. To better understand the breadth of what goes on behind the scenes, went straight to the source, and spoke to models both on and off the record.

Unsurprisingly, there are reoccurring accounts of the constant scrutinizing over size and measurements, and how that has had long-term psychological effects on the models. One claims she was measured every day by an agent who wanted her to lose weight. Others speak of the same coded language used to nudge them into dieting. As one can imagine, many developed eating disorders, but even some of those who said they did not succumb to anorexia still had trouble feeling confident in their bodies.

Other persisting issues included long, inconsistent work hours, being put in questionable sexual situations at a young age, and the general attitude throughout the fashion industry that models are disposable.

Unfortunately, after reading all of the accounts, what one comes to learn is that there is no easy way to pinpoint a problem and assign blame. For some, their agencies have been nothing but supportive, and it’s clients, stylists, or casting directors who have created this unfortunate environment. But others point to agents as the source of their troubles, especially when it comes to weight, money, and sticking up to clients in the first place.

The “Fashion” industry is an umbrella term, made up of smaller industries that operate together like gears. The more one tries to think of ways to fix the modeling industry, the more you see how other aspects of fashion must change as well, from casting, to even how ateliers run. It becomes a bit daunting, then, to even know where to start fixing the problem.

But that’s not to say it can’t be done, it just means we might be looking at a (long overdue) industry-wide overhaul. The question is, are we all willing to put in the work?

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