The British Fashion Council (BFC) today announced they would take a leading role in helping set best practice for the modelling industry and lobbying to remove barriers for models to work in the UK, with a particular focus on visa regulation and Brexit. The British Fashion Model Agency Association (BFMAA), is a newly formed organisation established by leading model agencies in the UK. The BFC will take a secretariat role in the BFMAA, and will chair an independent committee comprising leading individuals from the fashion industry to develop a charter that will protect and give a voice to models.
The BFMAA will take the place of the Association of Model Agencies. The new organisation has been formed as the need to unite the modelling industry to face and tackle industry challenges became more evident. The BFMAA will recognise legitimate model agencies that sign-up to a code of Best Practice. It aims to work with the BFC to promote this best practice to both working models and the general public to help them navigate unacceptable working practices in the industry.
The role of the BFC will be to encourage the fashion industry to sign up to a similar charter of best practice that will be developed by the committee and in consultation with industry. It will also take the role as an independent, confidential contact point for models and model agencies, students and industry to flag poor practice and report abuse. The Models First Initiative forms part of Positive Fashion, a BFC platform designed to celebrate industry best practice and encourage future business decisions to create positive change.
The BFC in partnership with the BFMAA aims to continue the work they have been undertaking to ensure that visa laws enable the industry to function, and for the UK to compete and remain at the forefront of the fashion industry. In light of Brexit, the industry is extremely concerned that it will become harder for international talent, design students and models, who have a freelance work status to work for British based fashion houses and travel to the UK for events such as London Fashion Week.
The BFC is committed to developing diversity in the industry. It continues to encourage businesses and brands to consider and celebrate the multi-cultural environment in which we live, as well as the global market, when employing models, talent and design students.
Caroline Rush, CEO, British Fashion Council “The BFMAA approached us to take a more formal role in our engagement with agencies and to help lead the way in setting codes of practice that model agencies and the industry can sign up to. They understood the need to develop an independent committee that will challenge agencies, as well as industry norms to ensure that models are treated with the same respect and care as all employees in the industry. The stories highlighted through #METOO has meant that there is no better time for the industry to work together to stamp out any form of maltreatment or abuse. The fashion industry is also facing challenges as visa regulations come under scrutiny in light of Brexit and we need to ensure access is open and talented individuals from overseas are not excluded from working in the UK, diminishing our opportunity to compete on a global stage.”
BFMAA Chairman John Horner added “As the representative body of Britain’s top fashion model agencies, the BFMAA is delighted to be affiliated with the British Fashion Council. Working together we look forward to improving industry standards and working conditions for models here in the UK, as well as ensuring that the UK remains an accessible and attractive environment for both models and fashion brands.”