Some of New York’s biggest modelling agencies have been hit with a class action suit alleging that they failed to provide accurate account statements and concealed money received on the models’ behalf. Both Ford Models and Wilhelmina have been named in the suit filed by model Louisa Raske and a host of other unnamed models. The agencies and a number of cosmetics companies including, Revlon and Maybelline, are accused of using photographs of the models long after their contracts had expired. Raske’s suit puts the total value of New York models’ losses to their agencies at $20 million.
“Unless the models somehow fortuitously discover the use of their image on a product or in an advertisement, the models never demand or receive payment and at the very least, the modeling agencies are unjustly enriched by the models’ funds,” Raskse, who has appeared in bridal magazines, wrote in her complaint.
The suit also claims that the models were warned that they would never work again if they sued the agencies.
It’s not the first time this year that power players in the fashion industry have been accused of abusing worker’s rights. In September, Diane Wang, an intern at Harper Bazaar, filed a class action against the magazine’s publisher for violation of labour rights when she wasn’t paid for her work.