Last December, international casting director James Scully – who works with designers such as Stella McCartney and Tom Ford – spoke up about the ill-treatment models experience during casting calls. "I work in a business I no longer recognise," Vice quoted him as having said.
Just last week, James followed this up with a bold Instagram post, claiming he was staying true to his promise that he would "be a voice for any models, agents or all who see things wrong with this business" before sharing detailed reports of the “sadistic and cruel” treatment models got in Paris this season.
PFDC gears up to showcase the most revolutionary fashion week yet
"I'm disappointed to come to Paris and hear that the usual suspects are up to the same tricks. I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that at the Balenciaga casting, Madia & Ramy (serial abusers) made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell, told them they would have to stay over three hours to be seen and not to leave,” James wrote. “They shut the door, went to lunch and turned off the lights to the stairs, leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones. Not only was this sadistic and cruel, it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatised. Most of them have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled, as well as Hermes and Ellie Saab, who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals."
James added that racism in the industry is alive and well. "On top of that, I have heard from several agents, some of whom are black, that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of colour," he continued. "And another big house is trying to sneak 15-year-olds into Paris!" The minimum catwalk age is 16.
"It's inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls, especially when too many of these models are under the age of 18 and clearly not equipped to be here," he said. "But God forbid [we'll] sacrifice anything or anyone for an exclusive right? If this behaviour continues, it's gonna be a long cold week in Paris."
The fashion reformation
It’s no big news that terrible things happen in the fashion industry but models are rarely empowered to speak out for fear of making enemies and losing jobs. James, therefore, comes as a beacon of hope for them, leveraging the privilege he has to speak out on the model’s behalves.
The casting director concluded his post by writing, "Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to share them for you. It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents, where it rightfully belongs. And I encourage any and all to share this post.”
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