Note from Erin
I founded and put into action the very first ‘Model Sanctuary’ (a non-for-profit organisation) three and a half years ago and we are now operating in our seventh London Fashion Week season in succession.
The Model Sanctuary, which has been supported by the British Fashion Council, is a place where models facing the fast paced schedule of international fashion weeks can relax and recharge and seek unbiased advice in a private space from a diverse team of professionals.
Having spent the last few years listening to young models’ views on work and conditions, I’ve learnt that they simply ask to speak for themselves, without feeling objectified and without compromising their relationship with their agents and employers. We aim to provide them the space where they have the chance to do this.
In response to concerns of model health and negative portrayals of the industry in some corners of the media, the initial aim of The Model Sanctuary was to increase access to health guidance and support and, in general, to benefit models in a way that will be useful to them during their career in fashion. By providing this access, I hope to help in educating and empowering models so that they can make informed health and lifestyle choices of their own: I realise that it is important to provide this assistance in an impartial manner and not impose my own opinions and views. My belief is that every model has to find their own attitudes and convictions on important issues like health and well-being.
As a model with over 15 years experience, I can appreciate the enormous impact that four weeks of international fashion shows potentially has on the well-being of models both mentally and physically. At a time when we are not just being photographed, but also having our bodies (and sometimes our minds)scrutinised by people who have never met us, I feel it is important that there is a place – an environment – that is private, homely, friendly and secure.
At the core of The Model Sanctuary is the team, the team of professionals and helpers that make the sanctuary what it is and provide the support base. We have taken great care to provide: Access to a nutritionist who arranges for a daily delivery of food tailored to a model’s need to sustain energy; a psychotherapist to work with models regarding personal or work related issues; an osteopath to work with the physiological harmony of the body; physiotherapists and fitness instructors to help models achieve individual fitness goals and masseurs and healers to provide both physical and mental relaxation. These professionals are present and available upon request during the whole of the Fashion Week through a booking system that we operate.
The vast amount of feedback that we have received from season to season has highlighted the importance that the models have come to place on The Model Sanctuary. The space, which is open only to models, where they can unwind with their peer group, is having very significant benefits to their well-being and overall happiness. The appreciation of the range of support that we aim to provide during London Fashion Weeks has been humbling and inspiring in equal levels. Essentially, it has moved me to push on and work at growing the concept and scope and continue to offer my years of experience within the fashion industry in a mentoring-like role.
In just over three years, we have seen the investment of our committed sponsors pay off with up to 170 models a day using the facility during London Fashion Week.
It is a privilege to be working with such an inspiring team and I am proud with what The Model Sanctuary has achieved so far but there is still huge scope for the growth and development and I look to the future with great excitement.
Welcome to The Model Sanctuary.