Rhiannon D’Averc explains a new London Runway initiative designed to raise awareness about fair representation for models.

In the past few years, London Runway has always worked hard towards three goals: sustainability, equality, and representation. To us, each of these pillars of our magazine are just as important, and that’s why you will always see full shoot credits with our editorials as well as with the images we share and the writing in our pages.bIf you follow us @londonrunwaymag on Instagram, you’ll know that we love to share pages from each issue, making sure to tag whoever was involved with creating the content. But there’s always been one thing that hasn’t sat easy with us: tagging models from catwalk shows.

Why? It’s not because we don’t think they should be credited. In fact, we often go out of our way – spending hours per issue tracking down the names of the models we covered from the show. But that’s the problem. You see, most fashion brands don’t name or tag their models in any way.  It’s not uncommon to see a fashion brand post in which a whole host of people are tagged: the creative designer’s own account, the hair stylist and makeup team, any other brands who collaborated in putting the show together, sponsors, casting directors, and all of the rest. Why, then, are models so frequently left off the list?

Let’s get real. Models aren’t paid well. Unless you manage to land a great agency and get very frequent work, you can’t make this into a full-time living. Yes, there are those models who gain enough of a following and a reputation to start bagging big payments. Often, we know these models by name, because they become famous in their own right. But the average model walking the runway at a show for, say, Fashion Scout, isn’t going to be paid well enough to make a living. They walk in shows for the buzz, for their passion, and for the exposure – they know their images will be taken by dozens of photographers and shared in magazines, newspapers, and on social media. But when you’ve gone through a gruelling day of preparation, rehearsals, and the rush of the walk, and barely been paid at all, only to see that you haven’t been credited for your work – isn’t that a kick in the teeth?

Crediting models on Instagram isn’t hard to do: it just requires to search for their name and add it one time. For some brands, this is already part of their routine, and they’re happy to do it. For others, we instead have to spend time trawling through tagged posts, doing detective work to try to figure out the names and handles of the models in each shot.

Representation is important. At London Runway, we don’t believe that any one person is less valuable when it comes to putting a show together. Everyone has their part to play. That’s why, when we began recording episodes of our podcast – London Runway Style – we added a credit section at the end of each episode. We read out the names of the makeup and hair team, the choreographer, the creative heads, and so on – and we also read out the names of the models, in order of their appearance, where possible.

This has highlighted for us even more the fact that some models seem almost impossible to track down. Sometimes it’s only the agency that gets credited, and at other times there are no model credits at all. We’re calling on all brands that hold physical fashion shows to credit their models – to make sure that the people advertising their clothes get that recognition and fair representation.

You may already have seen the #tagyourmodels campaign that we started some time ago, as a gut reaction to not being able to find the names of models. If we put up a post where we can’t find the names of the models pictured, we always appreciate any information that other viewers can give us to try to track them down. And when we can’t find anything at all, we’re not shy about adding a note to our stories that the brand needs to step up and #tagyourmodels as soon as possible.

Now we’re accelerating this campaign, pushing it to the fore of our minds as we approach what will hopefully be a new London Fashion Week in September. If you feel as passionately as we do that people should be recognised for their work, then please join us in simply reminding brands to #tagyourmodels if they haven’t done so. All it takes is a quick comment below the post, and we’ll be checking in on the hashtag from time to time to see who needs reminding of good manners.
It’s 2020, and creatives of all kinds within the fashion industry rely on platforms like Instagram to help them grow their careers. Let’s stop leeching off the work of others and start giving credit where credit’s due. 

If you want to take part in our #tagyourmodels campaign, follow us on Instagram @londonrunwaymag and call out anyone who isn’t doing their bit!

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