“There’s a fashion week?” The pandemic has deprived models of the catwalk and freedom of movement. And if some benefit from less competition, they all regret the energy of the catwalks that nothing replaces to propel their career.
Christelle Yambayisa has not been idle since the first confinement last March: trips to Milan, Sweden or Poland for advertising campaigns, a look book by Issey Miyake in Paris? “There is no less work,” she confides. But the job is no longer the same.
“I didn’t earn anything for six months.”
“There’s a Fashion week at the beginning of March? I had no idea”, joked Christelle a few days before the women’s ready-to-wear week in Paris which starts on Monday, again virtual.
Films now present the collections. Financially, it is also less interesting. “We made a minimum of 4,000 euros during Fashion week, up to 50,000 euros for some. It was a sacred moment,” recalls Christelle Yambayisa.
For the Turkish model Oyku Bastas, based in Istanbul and who has been doing Fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London and New York for the past five years, the health crisis is “very hard” to live through.
“I didn’t earn anything for six months,” she says. She used to earn 6 to 7,000 euros per Fashion week in Paris, which allowed her to live and continue her studies “three months later”. “I was in Turkey, all the borders closed, the consulates stopped working”. Taking advantage of her American visa, she has been working for a month in New York where she participates in photo shoots.
Models particularly exposed to the virus
In France, it is difficult to obtain aid for models who have the status of employees and are not very well adapted to their profession,” regrets Ekaterina Ozhiganova, a model and founder of the association Model Law, which defends the rights of models.
Around fifty fixed-term contracts, sometimes lasting only one day, are impossible to enter the Pôle Emploi site and the number of hours worked on French territory required to be eligible for aid is insufficient, even for the most active. Very international, the fashion world has shrunk in front of Covid.
In addition, not wearing masks, the models are particularly exposed. Four of them confided that they caught the Covid during the Fashion week in September in Paris.
They are touched by make-up artists who often apply products with their hands. Protocols have since hardened and some houses now require a 48-hour PCR test for all before accessing the work site. Oyku does two tests per week, Christelle is at 39 PCR tests.
Source : AFP
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