Models push for Fashion Workers Act, slamming designer Karl Lagerfeld amid Met Gala 2023

They're attractive, angular, and alluring. 

The glamorous life of fashion models has always had its appeal. 

But according to some--models are often "exploited, abused or even trafficked," according to fashion model Rozi Levine.  

A handful of models with New York labor advocacy organization Model Alliance gathered Sunday to push for the passage of the Fashion Workers Act. 

"It makes no sense that they aren't protected," said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. 

READ MORE: Met Gala theme: Why is Karl Lagerfeld controversial?

According to the bill, New York fashion models have no basic labor protections. The contracts are murky, wages are stolen, sexual abuse is accepted and starvation is coerced.  

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

"Sometimes models are paid in clothing, if anything at all, Levine said. "And we wait months for paychecks, without knowing how much we're supposed to be paid versus how much we're going to be paid." 

The bill would require management agencies to cap commissions and make contracts clear. It would also establish a zero-tolerance policy for abuse. Opponents argue that models are independent contractors, not employees, which makes them responsible for the work environment, not the company.  

This is happening in the shadows of Monday's met gala. 

The Model Alliance pointing to the Gala's theme this year, the designer Karl Lagerfeld, who they say is known for his misogynistic and problematic workplace.  

"If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model!" is the viral quote by Lagerfeld in 2018, a year before his death, when he expressed, he was fed up with MeToo movement and newly adopted regulations in the industry.  

"If tomorrow tells you anything, it's that the fashion industry must chart a new path forward," said -Sara Ziff, founder and executive director of the Model Alliance.