Contracting Models to Break Bread With Us
Posted on February 05 2016
Since our launch we've worked with a number of professional models. It has disheartened us that, more often than not, these models don't eat or only eat very sparingly. This has been despite our protestations that they eat for no other reason than to sustain themselves during our day-long photo shoots.
We believe these models have refrained from eating because they are controllin their weight. The reason we say this is because almost every professional model we have worked with has told us that they are under pressure to lose weight. Indeed one model who worked with us didn't eat for an almost a full day and to the point of delirium.
We are also aware of the extremes some professional models go to to control their weight. For example, eating tissues in order to prevent their stomachs rumbling.
This is all so heartbreaking.
For this reason we are introducing a clause in our contracts with model agencies such that the models who work with us will be required to eat and to be seen to be eating.
This will not be some draconian requirement. We have no intention of force-feeding anyone or standing over them while they eat - not at all. Rather we will invite the model to join us when we eat at lunchtime. Lunches during our photo shoots are friendly, informal and relaxed - we have music and banter. We want our models to join us and join in.
Whenever we have worked with models we have always catered to any food requests and dietary requirements – the model always has a choice as to what she would like to eat and we always ask about dietary restrictions. So whether she wants to eat a small, simple meal or anything else it will be her choice entirely. She just needs to agree to eat a meal. Alternatively she can choose not to sign our contract and not work with us - that is absolutely her choice.
We are not saying we have the answer to the far-reaching issue of model health – far from it. However we would say that, from a moral perspective, we cannot sit by idly and watch a young woman spend a day with us during which she goes hungry.
It has been pointed out to us that models may starve or purge themselves before and after working with us. That makes us sad, not least because models' eating habits and eating disorders are discussed in tandem as though they were synonymous. In the announcement, and subsequent discussion of our new clause, we have made no mention of eating disorders or suggestion that we are attempting to address eating disorders - dealing with such conditions is clearly the purview only of professionals. Our initiative is purely to reject demand for ultra-skinny models and the pressure on models to lose weight, especially when they are already very slim. What we say overall is that, during a model's time with us, and while, as we believe, we have a duty of care to her, we will do what we can to safeguard her wellbeing.
We also remain committed to not supplying sample sizes to fashion magazine stylists in anything below a size 8 - that is the smallest we will do.
On a separate note we have been asked why we do not make sizes above a UK size 14. We spend hours and hours on the fit of our pieces. We do not think it is appropriate, or fair, to simply grade up from a size 8. In our experience what we have found is that for sizes 16 and above womens' proportions vary more widely. On this basis we believe proper application needs to be made to get the design and fit right for these sizes. We want to invest in this but, right now, we are a start-up with limited resources and budgets. We intend to make sizes 16 and above but only when we can properly demonstrate that the design and fit is right.
Finally we would like to thank our photographer, Lorna Jane Newman for the great shots she has provided us with thus far - all the wonderful images on our site. And to Philippa Miles for the great hair and make-up. We would ask that any media credit Lorna Jane and Philly in their use of any images. We look forward to working with them both again.