How to Protect Yourself


It's an interesting time to be a woman in the fashion industry. The MeToo and TimesUp campaigns are bringing change. Meaningful change. And I agree, it is about time we stopped dancing around the issues of sexual harassment and assault, hold people accountable, and bring to light the reality of the industry.

For years, women in the fashion industry have been hesitant to speak up. As a model, we have been warned about 'handsy' photographers and editors, and then sent to meet them anyway. Because, after all, they can 'make' your career if they like you. If you didn't play along with these men, your agency was informed that you were 'hard to work with' and 'cold'. Dealing with these people was a constant balancing act; how to come across as 'cool' and 'fun' without feeling pressured to do something you don't want to do. It was being in a position where you were being worn down, where you couldn't come out and say a hard 'no' because of the power imbalance. And, if the worst did happen, it was keeping quiet, bottling up the pain inside, and dealing with it.

After reading the stories on Cameron Russell's Instagram, I realise I got off relatively easy. I have had my share of bad experiences, and dealt with the emotional fallout afterwards, but for the most part, I am unscathed. After talking to a lot of women in the fashion industry, I believe there are a few things we can do to protect ourselves in the future. I do feel that a post like this shouldn't ever have to be written, and I hope some day in the future everything I am saying here will be irrelevant.

First off, do your research. When you receive the call sheet, talk to your friends in the industry and Google the team. Ask any of your colleagues you know who have worked with the team what the vibe will be like on set, and make sure it is what you are comfortable with — especially if you are on a location. Forewarned is forearmed. Don't be afraid to ask your agent for extra details — it's in their best interest to protect you. If you've never met the crew on set, bring your agent or someone with you. You should always feel comfortable.

Next, clearly define your boundaries. If you aren't comfortable with nudity, make sure your agent informs the client ahead of time. You don't need to justify your reasons with the team.

Finally, if something happens on set that makes you feel intimidated, uncomfortable, or just plain wrong, immediately report it. Do not remain silent. Tell your agent, and speak to a medical professional, and/or a legal adviser.

Models are finally coming forward with stories of misconduct within the fashion industry, and it is through actions like this that change can occur. We must not remain silent anymore.

The fashion industry is about celebrating life and art. It should be a safe place — an industry based on creativity and imagination, and we should all feel safe and free to work and express ourselves.

But most of all, regardless of the industry and occupation we work in, women have every right to work without fear. I hope that the world my daughter grows up in is a safe one.

I hope it is an equal one.Read more at:prom dress | formal dresses uk