New bill seeks to protect New York models from ‘predatory management agencies’

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A new bill aims to protect New York models and other fashion designers from predatory management agencies that currently operate unsupervised.

Called “The Fashion Workers Act”, Model Alliance Founder Sara Ziff announced the pro-labor legislation at a press conference on Friday, which happened to be the 111th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. Ziff was joined by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman and models Karen Elson and Teddy Quinlivan at the event, which took place outside Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

“A century after the Triangle factory fire, it is unacceptable that the creative workforce behind the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry still lacks basic protections in the birthplace of the movement. American worker,” Ziff said in a statement. “New York derives huge benefits from the backs of young women and girls under contract with predatory management agencies. The Fashion Workers Act is a necessary and urgent step, and we hope Albany lawmakers act now.

First introduced this week by New York State Assemblyman Hoylman and Karines Reyes, the bill requires registration and requirements for model management companies and creative management companies, as well as complaint procedures and penalties for violations.

Among some of the new requirements, the bill states that agencies must pay models and creatives within 45 days of completing a task; provide models and creatives with copies of contracts and agreements; let former models and creatives know if management is collecting royalties from a talent they no longer represent; register and post a $50,000 bond with the NYS Department of State; and conduct a reasonable on-set health and safety investigation.

It further compels agencies to end bad practices such as collecting signing fees or deposits from models; charge more than the daily fair market rate for accommodation; impose a commission higher than 20% of the remuneration of the model or creation; and prohibits the management company from retaliating against any model or creative using the invoice to file a complaint.

“Fashion is one of New York’s largest industries, accounting for 5.5% of the workforce, $11 billion in wages, and nearly $2 billion in tax revenue each year,” Hoylman said. “And the cultural impact may even be greater than the financial impact. New York is the best-dressed place in the country. It’s part of what makes our city special. Yet models often have the least leverage, the least power. It is simply wrong. I’m proud to carry the Fashion Workers Act with Assemblyman Reyes to finally ensure that the fashion modeling and design workforce has as much support from the workforce. work as any other worker and to fill the legal loophole through which fashion industry management companies escape liability.

Unlike talent agencies, modeling and creative agencies are considered management companies under New York State General Business Law §171(8), known as the “Exception of ancillary reservation”, allowing them to evade licenses and regulations.

In almost all cases, agencies receive a “power of attorney” as part of their agreement to represent talent, giving agencies the power to accept payments on behalf of the model, deposit checks and deduct expenses, as well as than reserving jobs, negotiating the price of the model. salary, and give third parties permission to use the model’s image.

“The lack of regulation in the fashion industry leads to the toxic cycle of debt and subservience to agencies that many models and creatives face,” added Quinlivan, who shared some of her past experiences in fashion. industry at the press conference. “The Fashion Workers Act aims to tackle the predatory practices of some of these agencies. Agency clients deserve transparency and accountability, the Fashion Workers Act is a critical step in addressing industry abuse of power.

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