Several of Britain’s most well known modelling agencies have come under fire this week, facing allegations of price-fixing and collusion, to achieve higher fees for their models, at the expense of their customers.
The five agencies in question are Premier, Storm, Viva, Models 1 and FM Models, and have represented some of the world’s most famous faces. From up-and-comers, such as Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn, to legends, like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, these agencies are responsible for not only finding but also catapulting some of Britain’s most famous models into the limelight.
But instead of their models being in the headlines, now it’s them. The allegations have come after raids that began in March 2015 by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who seized computer hard drives, as well as printed documents from the agencies in question.
A whole year has passed since then and the agencies at the centre of the conspiracy have been named, possibly facing multi-million dollar fines, if found guilty. Customers who have fallen victim to the price-fixing scandal include online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands, and may be able to seek compensation according to the CMA.
But what could this mean for the fashion industry as a whole? If these five companies are indeed found guilty and forced to pay fines of up to a 10% annual turnover, what will happen to them?
Their credibility has already been damaged immensely, and the investigation is far from over. If more information arises to damage their reputation, these agencies might find their standing as one of the country’s top modelling agencies taken away.
The face of fashion could change completely; we could very well see the rise of new modelling agencies capitalising on the scandal and in turn bring new models to the forefront of the industry. Or the companies who fell victim to the price-fixing scheme may choose to no longer work with the accused agencies in the future, creating a severe dent in their profits.
But then what happens to models such as Jourdan Dunn, Alessandra Ambrosio, Bar Refaeli and countless others who are being represented by these companies? While it’s unlikely they had any idea of what was going on, they could still be affected by the consequences.
If they stay with their agency, will their career be deeply affected? Or will some choose to leave in favour of joining agencies that have managed to stay out of the scandal?
With the investigation still underway, it will be interesting to see if any of these speculations come to fruition. Or if these agencies will be able to bounce back as if nothing ever happened.
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