Supermodel Edie: Stop making us strip naked backstage
SUPERMODEL Edie Campbell is demanding that fashion shows provide private changing rooms after revealing her ‘humiliation’ at being forced to strip naked backstage.
The 27-year-old, who has graced the cover of Vogue, said that changing in crowded areas was ‘bizarre’ and ‘uncomfortable’ – and claimed it ‘dehumanised’ models.
Her calls seem to be being heard. She says the majority of designers at the ongoing London Fashion Week have agreed to private areas for models to undress.
Her comments come after she railed against abuse in the fashion industry in an open letter last year.
The English model, who attended the £24,000-a-year St Paul’s Girls’ School, is estimated to earn £2 million a year and has walked the runway for Chanel, Versace and Stella McCartney.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, she said: ‘Backstage areas are very busy, there’s a lot of people there from kind of every part of the production of putting on a fashion show – hair and make-up, stylist, PR, the press themselves, caterers, pro- duction assistants, everyone, kind of, you could imagine.’
She said the experience of getting naked in front of so many people was initially ‘jarring’ but gradually became ‘normalised’.
But she was stuck by the thought of how ‘bizarre and uncomfortable’ the practice was when she saw designers putting up private changing areas in New York last year.
She said it then occurred to her how it had been ‘ humiliating to have previously been encouraged to change or been forced to change in front of everyone. I think it adds to a much broader question of a dehumanisation of the model and a kind of objectification that is a symptom of a bigger problem.’
The model started out in the industry aged 15 but thinks youngsters should wait until they are 18. ‘There’s a very high turnover because they start working so young and their bodies change,’ she said. ‘ Their careers are over by the time they are 18 because they start working while they are pre-pubescent.’
Asked what she would tell teenagers hoping to break into the industry, the star – whose mother Sophie Hicks was once fashion editor for British Vogue and whose younger sister Olympia is also a model – said: ‘Stay in school.’
Last year, Edie wrote an open letter in which she spoke out about a culture within the fashion industry ‘that is too accepting of abuse, in all of its manifestations’, questioning why models under 18 are allowed to work and why it was acceptable for models to be sent alone to photographers’ homes for castings.
Earlier this year, the fashion world was shaken when photographer to the stars Mario Testino was accused of sexually exploiting male assistants and models.
A spokesman for the British Fashion Council (BFC), which runs Lon-
‘It’s bizarre, humiliating and dehumanising’
don Fashion Week, said: ‘We have already implemented compulsory private changing areas for models at the official London Fashion Week venue as well as private cubicles for models who do not wish to change in front of other models.
‘The BFC has instructed designers showing outside of the official London Fashion Week show space to follow its example.’
‘PROBLEM’: Edie Campbell, also left, at London Fashion Week yesterday