Seven top models will act as undercover agents this week in London, filing reports on working conditions, eating disorders, and harassment issues with the actors' union Equity. One hundred models have already joined Equity in the U.K. and the union will have a drop-in office set up onsite, where models can give union officials the scoop on how they are treated during London Fashion Week. [Daily Mail]
Of course the more models are represented by a union, the greater that union's negotiating power (just look at a recent little entertainment industry scuffle and you'll see how that works ). The downside? Forming a union means risking the loss of work and facing intense pushback from the powerful businesses in the industry. Those guys are never psyched to hear the "u" word because adhering to regulations and paying standard wages and benefits affects their bottom line.
Unfortunately, convincing a majority of models to join a union is going to be an uphill battle. Today the industry is filled with very young Eastern European models, girls who are often working to support their families and are more than willing to put up with crappy working conditions for a crappy-but-better-than-nothing paycheck. It's not just a pipe dream, though. Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland paved the way for SAG, so let's get some gutsy fashion dames together and raise hell.