It is with a sense of trepidation that I read the latest furore enveloping the fashion world with news that Marc Jacobs, is involved in a practice that in essence severely undercuts the models that agree to work with him on the runway here in the US. As one of the biggest and notable designers in the American vernacular (so I have been told anyway) it seems our hawt bixch who until recently was making us dizzy with delight over the Christmas holidays in St Barts has made some of us (okay a whole bunch of us) mad as hell that the house of Marc Jacobs is seemingly taking advantage of the girls that strut the planks for him in the US.
The drama as it unfolds via styleite: Less than three hours after Jezebel published its post about Marc Jacobs overworking minors and paying his models in trade (except when they’re in France, where that is illegal), his brand issued a (rather disheartening) response via Twitter.
Hmm kids, now I have to say between you and me I can’t resist a good fist fight between my friends at gawker and co and that of perennial hawt bixch Marc Jacobs. But that said there is something chaffing at the collar:
Rather than going off in tangents I’ve simply reiterated styleite’s on the mark response:
What’s the point of the CFDA setting forth guidelines when a member of its Board of Directors refuses to abide by them? And while it is technically legal for models to get paid in trade, that does not make it right. As Sauers made note of in her original post, models are typically considered independent contractors which means employers do not need to abide by employment law when dealing with them. The operative word here is “need”. Just because they don’t need to do things like, you know, pay them in something other than clothes, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
Ultimately Marc just cause you can work around rules doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work towards the challenge of being an industry leader and setting the bar high. Surely if you can show in Paris and pay your models a working wage there why not do the same in the US? And of course I think I made my thoughts very clear about you using underage girls to strut the planksfor you recently too. I’m glad they and their parents all agreed to be part of your collections but going against the CFDA whether you feel so or not, you are sexualizing minors, no matter the height of the high heels these 14 year old girls strut in.
It’s one thing to be fashion forward and have fashion prerogative, but it’s even better form and clarity to treat those individuals that align with you with a higher grade of conduct, although ultimately your private affairs are yours as much as it is the media’s affairs to express reticence over such affairs that it considers undue and short of exerting some degree of manipulative guise given the advantage you hold as presumed for now leader of the American fashion sweep stakes.
And continues styleite: The company’s official response of “if they don’t want to work with us, they don’t have to” only underscores the issue. It’s a vicious cycle. Young models are pressured into accepting unfair (and often unlawful) working conditions because bookers and agents tell them that’s the only way they will get work.
Isn’t it time Mr Jacobs you raised the bar a little? We’re all watching…
But just in case you doubt Ms Jenna Sauers here’s some of it here. Get yourself some tea cause Jenna is on fire. Here’s a sample of what she had to say to Mr Jacobs.
jezebel: When I modeled, doing looks during fashion week was how you earned money to make up for all the magazine editorials, shows, presentations, and myriad other modeling jobs you had to do for free or for trade. Now the looks are for trade, too? That’s bullshit. Working for free for Marc Jacobs — a company that’s majority owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate? That’s complete and total bullshit.
LVMH made a net profit of $4.13 billion last year. When the conglomerate reported its 2011 financial results last month, it revealed that its revenue grew by 16% over 2010’s levels, to €23.66 billion, or $32.94 billion. Louis Vuitton, the other LVMH-owned brand Jacobs designs for, experienced another year of double-digit revenue growth; analysts put its total revenue at €6.5 billion, or $9.05 billion.