A Case for Action
For many young fashion professionals, the plot of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” is a real life depiction of their daily work environment.
Many are quietly struggling with stress and anxiety in their professional and personal lives, often battling depression, harassment, bullying, and even thoughts of suicide.
Compounding these issues is industry pressure to look flawless and be constantly creative. Many build up a pretty veneer that masks deep personal issues, with limited resources and funds to heal.
There is no data at this time that speaks to the impact of how this effects the fashion industry or how widespread the issues may be.
Goals of A Fashionable Pause
Stop or slow down the behaviors that are causing stress in the fashion work place
Fashion should be no different than any other industry, but for those of us that work in it, we know that’s not true. As funny as delivering your boss's dry cleaning or getting the new Harry Potter book may sound in a movie, those tasks aren’t (or shouldn’t be) part of anyone's fashion job description. We are all career professionals, not domestic workers. But, the truth is, things can get worse than those examples very quickly. From unreasonable hours, to expectations of dressing beyond one’s means, to shaming in front of co-workers; harassment and bullying in fashion company offices are part of a larger set of fashion workplace issues. We’ve all heard stories from peers that have made us wince more than a few times. A Fashionable Pause's goal is to identify the bad behaviors, as well as who is being affected by them, and who is causing them. We know we can't solve every issue, but we can raise awareness in our community to reduce the personal and professional harm they cause.
BUILD AN AWARENESS AND PRESENT RESOURCES fashion business owners and CEOs CAN DO TO PREVENT THE BEHAVIORS FROM CONTINUING
Changing policies that affect fashion industry employees starts at the top. Business owners, designers, CEOs, and human resource departments need the necessary information and training to implement work environments where behaviors like these are shunned and punished. A Fashionable Pause will work with leaders across the entire industry to educate and consult on creating positive, productive and open dialogues with their employees on these behaviors. We will also acknowledge those leaders and companies who are doing things right, by sharing the lessons they have learned.
DETERMINE HOW the fashion industries CAN PREVENT THESE BEHAVIORS FROM HAPPENING
It’s not a surprise for anyone who works in fashion that these behaviors have become commonplace. They are learned behaviors, passed down from boss to employee in a vicious cycle that has been part of our industry for decades. This is not an issue we can tackle on an individual basis, and the bad behaviors don’t exist in a vacuum. A Fashionable Pause seeks to change the misconception that "paying your dues" means being treated in a degrading or abusive manner or being forced to engage in tasks that shouldn’t be in your job description. Suffering in silence (or crying in the hallway) is not an acceptable way to deal with these behaviors. We will spread awareness of practices that promote a better business environment and a provide a collective understanding that this issue is not to be tolerated by management or employees.
Offer free resources all fashion professionals who have been effected by behaviors
There is a stigma that follows victims of harassment or bullying in any industry. There are also limited resources for affected professionals to get the counseling or coaching needed to cope and deal with the effects of these behaviors. Help is hard to find and/or too expensive for many employees. A Fashionable Pause aims to provide free, safe resources to all fashion professionals in New York City, with the hope that we can spread this support to other fashion capitals.
Want to help?
Are you a young fashion professional being impacted by workplace behaviors? A student scared by the stories you hear from friends in fashion? A professional coach who is looking to help with those effected? A fashion industry business owner or CEO who is looking for best practices to insure their workplace is free of these behaviors?