When I perused the London Fashion Week events schedule earlier this week I was intrigued and thrilled to read about something called the Model Zone.
Essentially, the Model Zone provides models with a place to eat, drink and rest between LFW shows and presentations. Magazines are sprawled over coffee tables, chilled out music fills the room and there is a plethora of snacks and meals on hand from the coolest and healthiest eateries London has on offer.
The Model Zone, an initiative of the British Fashion Council as part of the Model Health Programme also provides a psychologist who is available daily for private sessions with models.
Having worked behind the scenes at LFW, I have witnessed first hand the pressure and stress that models are frequently placed under. At one casting a young model mid stride rolled her ankle. Like a baby giraffe attempting its first steps, her lanky legs collapsed under her and she sat on the floor with a look of defeat, "I rolled it during a big show in New York Fashion Week, but I have to keep going," she said as I stared at her notably swollen and painful looking ankle. With determination she stood back up and with a slight hobble carried on like a trooper.
Whilst there are a lot of perks within the modelling industry, many of which I am awfully jealous of, it is an incredibly glamourised industry that is often considered frivolous and not recognised as the unforgiving, relentless and tiring business it in fact is.
Supermodel Cara Delevingne typically may be perceived as fun loving and living a carefree life. However during fashion weeks Cara is known to suffer from stress induced psoriasis. At Paris Fashion Week in March 2013 Kate Moss saw Cara in such a state that she demanded she seek medical treatment. If Cara, with the world at her feet is not immune to the stress of the industry just imagine what it can do to aspiring models who are younger and in a more vulnerable state.
While we could pass it off by simply saying this is a just part of the business, I strongly believe that each member of the fashion industry has an obligation to protect models, firstly for their own wellbeing and secondly because models are so admired and copied by people everywhere. An initiative like the Model Zone, which is expected to make models happier and healthier during this high-pressured week is a major step in the right direction.
From all recounts the Model Zone is a huge success, providing a calm amongst the chaos. It is a testament to the work that the British Fashion Council does and the positive changes they are making to the industry. I trust and hope that every fashion week around the world quickly follows suit.
Image copyright: British Fashion Council