Karen Elson: ‘Fashion’s #MeToo has been a long time coming’

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Karen Elson is delighted that her work has helped protect fellow models from sexual exploitation.

The British model and singer, who has walked the runway for top brands including Chanel, Versace and Gucci, is one of 31 members of The Model Alliance’s advisory board, which aims to promote fair treatment and equal opportunity within the fashion sector.

Recently the organization teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and pledged to provide models with private changing areas during the New York Fashion Week runway shows, and Karen is encouraged by the new initiatives put in place to safeguard those in the industry.

“It’s been a really long time coming,” the 39-year-old told USA Today at the amFAR Gala in New York on Wednesday night (07Feb18). “Fashion shows are situations where girls are often naked, getting changed in front of strangers… and we don’t have background checks for the people who are helping us change. Up until now, there hasn’t been a great level of privacy. So personally, I think it’s a huge victory for me, for creating a safer and more accountable fashion industry.”

The veteran has modeled since the age of 16, and these days she juggles her fashion and music career with being a mum to children Scarlett, 11, and 10-year-old son Henry, who she has with ex-husband, musician Jack White.

Karen went on to share that motherhood has played a part in changing her perspective of the industry she’s worked in for over 20 years.

“I could not imagine putting my daughter in a scenario where she’s getting naked in front of a bunch of strangers. I’m an adult woman and I want to see it safer for women like myself and I want to see it safe for young girls. It’s about time that we all (become) accountable,” she declared.

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