Jezebel recently ran a piece alleging that Marc Jacobs did not pay an underage model who worked 23 hours for him during NYFW (but she did receive clothing for walking in his show). While this may seem surprising and even unethical, it seems that, “Jacobs is just one of many New York designers don’t pay their runway models.” The idea behind not doing so is that the men and women in fashion week shows receive high exposure. So do they not deserve a paycheck? In a statement regarding Jezebel‘s piece, Jacobs doesn’t seem to think so.
Surely 17-year-old Hailey Hasbrook didn’t intend to stir any fashion waters when she blogged about her NYFW modeling experiences. In fact, she was probably just thrilled to share them with the world, what with being a high school student walking for top designers. But when news outlets got wind that Hailey was working exhausting hours, facing an overly-demanding schedule from Jacobs and not making money, her innocent site started a controversy. While she has since come out and stated that Jacobs was, “actually one of the favorite jobs I have had so far,” and that she, “actually preferred to be paid in trade,” it’s done nothing to stop the tirade against the designer.
Jacobs himself responded with a short, succinct Tweet: “Models are paid in trade [clothes]. If they don’t want to work w/ us, they don’t have to.” Lots of people are baiting him for a more thorough response, but it doesn’t look as if they’ll get it. [via Jezebel]
It sounds like Hailey had a grueling NYFW experience (whether she enjoyed it or not is, in my opinion, irrelevant here). But she did go into it knowing there would be no pay from Jacobs, and walking in such a prestigious show will look amazing on a résumé and open up doors for her. So even if the payment isn’t instant, in the long run it probably won’t matter. While runway models theoretically do deserve monetary compensation for their work, the fact is that plenty of women will do it for free. So, until new rules are put in place, walking away with designer goods and massive exposure seems satisfactory enough to me.
What do you think of this issue? Should models be payed more than trade for all gigs?