New York Fashion Models – Know Your Rights

images-7Are you a fashion model that has worked or continues to work for any of the following modeling agencies in New York city or around the world:

Wilhelmina Models from 2001; Next Management from 2000; Major Model Management from 2005; Elite from 1998; MC2 Miami & MC2 Models from 2005 and Click from 2006?

Is it possible that you:

  1. were classified as an independent contractor but were really an employee;
  2. did not receive compensation for one or more uses and/or reuses of images created as part of your relationship with the agency;
  3. attended a casting, go-see, meeting, check-in, test shoot or performed any uncompensated work or service at the direction your agency;
  4. received a pay check from your agency.

If yes to any or all of the above then you may be a member of the ‘Class’ of fashion models that have an interest in the law suit that has been brought by 9 former fashion models against the above agencies, on their own behalf and on behalf all models that fall within the ‘Class.’

The law suit is currently being fought in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.114581080If the models are successful with their law suit, on behalf of themselves and the ‘Class,’ they seek the following from the agencies:

  1. unpaid wages on their own behalf and on behalf of those members of the class;
  2. minimum wages for periods in which the agencies delayed wage payments;
  3. compensation for unlawful deductions from wages;
  4. a court order requiring the agencies to provide models with accurate payroll records, wage statements and a full explanation of how wages and deductions are calculated;
  5. interest of outstanding money.

If you think that you are part of the above Class and want to find out more about your rights OR if you are not part of the above Class but have experienced similar issues with your agency please email for a no cost, confidential chat about your rights and potential remedies.


The Model Wars heat up in NYC

What do you get when you take 9 retired fashion models, 8 of New York city’s biggest modeling agencies and the world’s largest litigation firm…a New York Supreme Court shit fight that, if successful in favour of our clothes horses, is likely to change the face of the modelling industry in the States and around the world…forever!

Earlier this year Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan filed a Third Amended Class Action Complaint, on behalf of our lovelies, against the agencies who are said to have deprived the lovelies of wages, overcharged expenses, forced their way into the lives of the lovelies and withheld work if questions were asked.  All feasible allegations if you know anyone in the closed shop industry of high fashion modeling but what is extraordinary is we finally have a group of lovelies ballsy enough to speak out on behalf of the others that are still slogging it out under the flash bulbs for paltry pay and sub par conditions.

A critical argument advanced by Quinn Emanuel, who as an aside are well renowned for knowing their business, is that these lovelies were actually employees rather than the independent contractors that they were characterised as.  Which as any savvy lawyer knows is a segway into all sorts of conditions that will on no view of the world have been offered to these or an of New York’s lovelies.  We’re talking minimum wage, regular pay checks, accountable expenses etc.  Again, the employee argument is highly feasible based on the amount of control the respective agencies imposed on the day to day work environment and conditions of the lovelies.  So modeling agencies you may be in  ‘all sorts’ here, one would imagine.

Some of the more extraordinary, but all to possible, allegations levelled at the agencies were that their lovelies were instructed in their clothing and personal grooming choices, accommodation and boyfriends and were not permitted to have anything to do with their bookings, contractual negotiations or recovery of earnings.  But the kicker is that with the instruction on all things mother agency came the costs!  Allegedly the “we want you to wear your hair like this so you represent this agency well”…was accompanied by “we have booked an appointment for you at this stylist”oh and if you can’t afford it don’t worry it will come out of your wages and until you pay the principal loan we’ll charge you interest on the outstanding money”.  And no, no my lovely…no questions will be asked if you want to continue getting modeling work to pay off those loans.

If the allegations can be established, and if anyone can run a smooth case against the mother ships, it’s Quinn Emanuel, then be prepared for a spate of changes in the running of things in the fashion industry.  For a simple start the lovelies are asking, on behalf of all models forming part of the class, for a court order that the agencies provide them with a wages statement with a full explanation for the calculation of wages and deductions.  That alone could put agencies under a boat load of pressure!

Stay tuned for further updates as Shanklin & Ors v Wilhelmina Models Inc & Ors 653702/2013 moves through the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of New York.


Model Ginta Lapina Preserving Her Brand In the Courts

Source – Elle Espana

Plaintiff:         Ginta Lapina, 25 year old Latvian fashion model contracted to Women Management who has done campaign work for Anna Sui, Diet Coke, DKNY and Jill Stuart and modelled for DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Caroline Herrera, Anna Sui, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs

Defendants:         Schwarzkopf, hair products company and Women Management who have managed Lapina since 2008, when she debuted at New York Fashion Week.

What is this suit all about:

Lapina  claims that she was “tricked” and misled into doing a campaign for Schwarzkopf after being told that it was for a campaign for Karl Lagerfeld. Lapinta’s claim, filed in the Manhattan Federal Court, also claims that her image was used without her permission and she was not properly compensated for the work done.

The New York Daily News has reported most comprehensively on the case to date and has informed readers that it appears this all started in July last year when our leggy Latvian took off for Paris, at the direction of her agency, on the belief that she was doing a photo shoot by Karl Lagerfeld to accompany an interview with the designer for a story called the “Schwarzkopf Look 2014 Trends.”

The Schwarzkopf Look 2014 Trends advertorial was not billed as an advertising campaign and therefore Lapina was only to be compensated for her time for the photo shoot.  There was to be no money paid for the use of her image.  According to Lapina’s court papers, as reported in the New York Daily News, Schwarzkopf struck a deal with Women Management and the agency permitted the advertising campaign to go ahead with Lapina being paid a measly $19,700 for her time. All this allegedly without Lapina’s knowledge or authorisation.

Lapina alleges in her claim that the deal has “diluted” her brand, because “Schwarzkopf products and look of advertisement are not of the caliber normally endorsed by a model of [her] stature in the industry.”  Typically, the suit says, models of Lapina’s “caliber and renown are solicited for advertising campaign by clients ‘willing to pay a model a high-six figure sum.’”

According to the suit, ‘the Defendants conspired to obtain a top model for an advertising campaign without having to pay the usual and customary compensation that a top model commands.’  

Coupled with particulars of Lapina’s previous campaigns it would seem that the above statements will go some way to justifying the $1 million or so in damages that she is claiming plus an order barring Schwarkopf from using the pics.

Interestingly, it seems that the relationship between Lapina and her agency is on shaky ground considering statements made by Women CEO Sergio Leccese to New York Daily News that he was “surprised and disappointed” by the claim. It seems that Women are denying the allegations and intend to seek their own remedies in connection with the dispute.

Considering that last year Lapina agreed to renew an exclusive management contract with Women Management through to January 2016 we can only wait and see how this will play out.