Articles of racism and ‘sadistic and cruel’ treatment of models have annoyed vigorous denials from major fashion houses

Models getting ready at Paris fashion week.

While some afters are lucky enough to have ‘voice and agency’ over their speeds, fashion can be a harsh industry for others.
Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

A outburst over the alleged mistreatment of dozens of models behind the scenes at approach week has threatened to overshadow the glamour in Paris, where the the public’s top designers presented their collections on Wednesday.

On the same day that marks took to the catwalk for brands including Maison Margiela and Lanvin, Balenciaga – one of the most powerful labels – said it had sacked its casting agency after a elevated casting director said models had been subjected to “algolagnic and cruel” treatment.

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, James Scully, a experienced of the industry, wrote: “I’m disappointed to come to Paris and hear that the old suspects are up to the same tricks.”

He alleged that at a recent Balenciaga formulation, 150 models had been made to wait in a dark stairwell for hours while a twosome of casting directors who Scully claimed were “serial abusers” ate their lunch.

“In their old fashion they shut the door, went to lunch and moved off the lights to the stairs leaving every girl with alone the lights of their phones to see,” he wrote. “Not only was this beastly and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I speak with traumatised.”

Balenciaga said on Wednesday that there had been “flows” with a recent model casting. In a statement, the French extra fashion house said it had made “radical changes” to the throw away process and had stopped using the accused agency.

“Additionally, Balenciaga sent a take down apology to the agencies of the models who were affected by this well-defined situation, asking them to share it with them,” it prognosticated. “Balenciaga condemns this incident and will continue to be far downwards committed to ensure the most respectful working conditions for the plus ultras.”

Maida Gregori Boina, one of the casting directors accused by Scully, break away fromed the allegations and said that she condemned him “for posting inaccurate and libellous perceives”.

Scully, whose post garnered support from supermodels Joan Smalls, Helena Christensen and Carolyn Murphy, also accused the French ticket Lanvin of discrimination against black models.

“I have be told from several agents, some of whom are black, that they get received (a) mandate from Lanvin that they do not insufficiency to be presented with women of colour,” he wrote.

Lanvin vehemently rejected Scully’s accusation. A representative told the Guardian that the shed of Lanvin’s last show was diverse. “You will agree, hence, that the comments made by James Scully regarding Lanvin on his Instagram circulate are a serious allegation and completely untrue.”

The brand’s designer Bouchra Jarrar, also hit with little strongly after showing her autumn-winter collection on Wednesday. “They dig the couture houses with their accusations of racism,” she chew out tattle oned AFP. “What are they talking about? Our dressing room is satiated of girls from every origin. In fact, there is not a celibate French person in it.”

Scully also accused a major Paris mode house, which he did not name, of trying to “sneak in” 15-year-old nonesuches for its show, writing: “It’s inconceivable to me that people have no attention for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls, outstandingly when too, too many of these models are under the age of 18 and obviously not equipped to be here.”

Top British model Edie Campbell depicted the Guardian that Scully’s description of the models’ alleged treatment at sling for the Balenciaga show was nothing out of the ordinary.

“It’s also probably not the most amazing example I’ve heard,” Campbell said. “I’ve been incredibly favoured. I have – by luck and by good management – made it to the top 1% who head to have a voice and agency over their own careers. [But] I keep witnessed a lot of upsetting things. I’ve seen girls be told to run laps everywhere the studio. It’s a cattle market.

“The problem with fashion in that it is a barest informal industry. Boundaries are crossed and it allows people to act properly in ways that would not ever be accepted in any other ‘chef-doeuvre’ environment,” Campbell continued. “It is also a closed system. If you plead for out, you are faced with the very real threat of never business again. And that is why what James is doing is so unbelievably colourful and should be applauded.”

Singer and model Rina Sawayama conjectured she had experienced shocking racism on photoshoots with major far-reaching brands. “Sometimes when you are the only person of colour on set you experience as though you just need to put your head down, valid lucky you’re there anyway, got to please them,” she said. “But luckily tools are changing and the conversation is shifting. It will take ages but common media speeds things up.”

Agence France-Presse contributed to this describe