L'Oréal Fashion Week
Modelresource's preview to L'Oréal Fashion Week stated "if there isn't a marked improvement in the organization of this year's event things could get ugly quickly."
Want to guess which way that went?
Toronto Star columnist Bernadette Morra penned a provocative article called "Standing on guard for whom, exactly?" in which she led off her LFW coverage mentioning Elmer Olsen and Maria Dvirnik not being able to get backstage for the opening show. That show featured Dvirnik opening and closing, and Olsen providing all 17 free models to Mackage in exchange for sponsorship rights.
For my part, I was flooded with feedback following my opening day review. The messages came from people formerly connected with the Fashion Design Council of Canada, from agency staff, from models and from parents of models. Each and every message supported my stance that the FDCC's judgement was often flawed, or its intentions poorly communicated.
In fairness to the FDCC, it can't be easy running an event as large as fashion week. There must be scores of competing interests, and trying to find a balance that would satisfy everybody must be difficult. Right now however, the models are increasingly sliding down the list of priorities and if that isn't soon corrected the FDCC is going to find it very difficult to continue attracting them.
One Calgary model that did a lot of shows last season told me via e-mail that she didn't cover her expenses in October, so she stayed home this time. Seriously, this is a problem not just for our models but for the image of Canadian fashion.
More than one agent has told me they view LFW as a training ground for their new models before they send them to the larger runways around the world. That isn't the image the FDCC wants. In fact it contradicts the vision I overheard FDCC President Robin Kay express to Heather Marks, when she said she looks forward to a day when LFW attracts more supermodels.
I'm with Kay on that one. That exposure she's being craving for LFW - that's the exposure our Canadian models enjoy in other countries. Add that star power to LFW and the international media will notice.
More media should mean more strong designers. More strong designers means more opportunities for models.
So here's my suggestion:
I'm calling on the FDCC to appoint someone from the modelling industry to the Board of Directors, or at the very least to the Advisory Council. Somebody needs to be at the table when decisions are made to ensure the models have a voice. Someone needs to act as a liaison between the agencies and the organizers. And most importantly, now more than ever, the FDCC needs to demonstrate that it values the modelling industry's contributions and cares about its ongoing support.