With London Fashion Week in full swing, Edie Campbell has urged fashion shows to provide private changing facilities for models. The British model – who has long been a part of the debate about mistreatment in the fashion industry – described the act of changing in front of people as “bizarre, uncomfortable, and humiliating” yesterday, on BBC Radio 4.
Having modelled for 12 years – since she was 15 – for labels including Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Chanel, Campbell obviously has a lot of insight into the backstage environment at shows. As you might expect, she describes it as full of people, “from every part of the production: hair and makeup, stylists, PR, the press themselves, caterers, production assistants, everyone that you can imagine.”
“It’s sort of quite jarring and then there comes a point when it becomes very normalised for you,” she says. But should unnecessarily taking your clothes off in front of coworkers be a “normalised” part of your job you just have to get used to, in any industry? Probably not.
Campbell points to a moment in New York last season as the point when she realised the process is unusual and, in some cases, unpleasant for models involved. “A lot of designers started putting up private changing area,” she says. “It was at that moment that I realised how bizarre and uncomfortable it was, and in a way humiliating, to have previously been encouraged to change, or been forced to change, in front of everyone.”
Late last year, Campbell also penned an open letter about sexual assault in the fashion industry, focusing especially on the often-overlooked abuse of male models. And in May this year, she took to the stage at Copenhagen Fashion Summit to similarly address how outsiders might downplay abuses of power within the fashion industry.