The Fashion Industry Needs to Address It’s Sexual Assault Problem

Miami Swim Week 2017 has just kicked off which reveals the hottest fashion trends we need to know about the upcoming 2018-2019 swim season. Including designers to watch out for like Lolli Swim, Revel Rey and Frankie’s Bikinis. However, don’t let these swim collections or models strutting on the catwalk allow you to forget about the recent issues that have occurred and drama that continues to unfold within the fashion industry.

Sexual assault within the fashion industry is an issue that seems to be escalating at an alarming rate and therefore, needs to be addressed. This isn’t to say that sexual assault hasn’t always been an issue in the industry, but we have showed a blind eye towards it for far too long.

Many models are abused in the fashion industry and are working under poor condition, both physically and emotionally. To become a professional model and grace the front cover of glamorous magazines such as Vogue or Cosmopolitan or strut down the runway at Fashion Week is every young models dream. But not every model achieves the status and fame such as Gisel Bundchen or Heidi Klum. Starting at a young age, women are sexualized in the model industry. Cara Delevingne opened up about sexual harassment in the fashion industry as she discussed with The Times UK the many sexually suggestive poses she was asked to do as a young teenager, as well as describing the industry as “it’s horrible and it’s disgusting.”

Many models do not receive a weekly income, health care benefits, and it is not easy for them to gain contracts through their modeling agencies. Many photo shoots take place in non-traditional workplaces such as small studios, beaches or various locations that tend to be in surroundings that are located farther away, on the outskirts of town. Not many people are present at photoshoots as it tends to be only the photographer, makeup artist, and model, therefore leaving little to no witnesses for assault.

Just a few days ago in Paris, Ian Connor, the designer of Revenge, got into a fist fight with Theophilus London and A$AP Bari, the designer of VLONE. What was the cause of this mess between the hip-hop fashionistas? Rape allegations. London, having made a smart remark to Connor in regards to his rape allegations by calling him a “fucking dirty rapist” which quickly escalated to a punch in the face as well as A$AP Rocky and his body guards chiming in to help stop the commotion. Once the drama had unfolded, Connor had the last word by ranting on Twitter that he has proof that London is a “whole child molester.”

The video released of the fight can only allow viewers to be disappointed, as well as a possible decrease in sales for their brands. What outsider would want to buy clothing from and support a brand that’s run by a possible rapist? Having been a longtime fashion designer to Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and Wiz Khalifa, one would think Ian Connor would have kept his cool and maintained his appearance as well. Nonetheless, this brawl occurred at an event supporting fellow friend and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, the creator the brand Off-White, which in a sense, makes Virgil look bad as these “child molesters” are part of the crew he associates with.

This allows those outside of the fashion industry to question what really goes inside the fashion industry. What secrets are being kept? What’s really going on behind closed doors? Whether that may be at a photo shoot, or models dressing rooms, it makes you wonder what actually happens in order for a brand to sell and for models to truly make it in an industry as competitive as this.

Demetra Zuras

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