The #MeToo movement has taken the film industry by storm with the January launch of the Times Up Coalition, and the countless voices that have shared their stories of injustice with the nation, giving others the courage to do the same. It is a cultural movement spreading like wildfire. But what impact has this movement had on the fashion industry?
Last Tuesday, amidst the hype of Fashion Week, a powerful group of models and industry professionals came together to celebrate the launch of a powerful new platform aimed at addressing and preventing sexual misconduct in the fashion industry.
The Humans of Fashion Foundation (HOF) opens up the dialogue on sexual assault. Designed to be all inclusive, the website (and eventual app) connects anyone involved in the industry looking for help, without regard to their position or seniority. Available to anyone from interns to makeup artists to top models and all those in between, the foundation provides pro-bono and subsidized legal professionals, counseling, and support networks.
“In addition to the financial burden, not everyone knows how to navigate the system to get the help they need,” said HOF co-founder Antionette Costa.
Shaking things up is female powered duo of musician/lawyer Costa and model Kristina Romanova. Both women have had very successful careers in the industry and have faced their own battles with harassment in the workplace, exchanging tons of advice and stories with friends in the same position.
Romanova began modeling at 16 years old. “Men sometimes would be touchy on set or say inappropriate things. I never knew how to deal with that [early in my career]. It would have been nice to have a place to go to, someone to talk to for advice.”
This duo hopes that through the technology of this network, they can connect industry veterans with newcomers to be able to do the same, promoting a safer workspace and more open discussion among all levels of the industry.
“Agencies only work with trustworthy clients, but you can’t control the human factor,” said Romanova. “And you never know who’s going to be working with you or what these people are going to do or what’s in their mind. I would go [to jobs] by myself and you never know what’s going to happen, and agents can’t control these things because they’re in the offices. But I wished there was someone I could ask for advice in that moment.”
With today’s large freelance market and influence that social media has on booking jobs, there are many instances where no agent is involved at all. This also means no HR department, and no one to report to. That’s why they’ve created an app dedicated to real-time advice and reporting. The “HOFF app” will soon be available for free download.
In the meantime, you can connect with a professional by simply emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a short explanation of your case. Head to the HOF website www.humansoffashion.org to learn more about the foundation and to get involved.
Joining forces with power organizations such as CFDA and Condé Nast, Humans of Fashion is guaranteed to help exile the abusers and end the injustice that has long plagued the fashion industry, #TimesUp.