The Problem With the Casting Call at Ludovic de Saint Sernin
Parisian designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin has began his campaign to shoot his first underwear collection on the wrong foot. Understatement.
The 27 year old designer posted on his Instagram stories asking for NYC based models to send in photos as part of a social media casting call for an upcoming underwear shoot. The problem? Nudes were openly invited.
Serious question: should a fashion designer looking to cast his first-ever underwear campaign be encouraging potential models to submit naked photos? pic.twitter.com/SRsXbT9D9g— Ξvan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) 30 March 2019
Now consensually sending nude photos to anyone you want is perfectly within your right.
But the problem here within the fashion industry is the idea that nude photos will help potential models ‘get ahead’ over anything else in their portfolio. As, Evan Ross Katz on Twitter aptly commented: “I can’t help but think of all the young talent that might do this not because they want to but because they think it will help them get ahead.”
With social media you can never be too sure who is following you (especially when you have over 40k followers as Ludovic does)… which begs the question: Just how many underage models may feel obligated to send nude photos? How many more may actually go ahead and do so? of course, all speculation. Ludovic’s audience may be all 18+.
However, this type of casting call just doesn’t sit right with us. There’s the illogical stance of sending in nude photos to be cast in a clothed underwear shoot. Above all else, a nude photos casting call sets a poor industry standard in an industry riddled with a history of sexual exploitation of models.
And this is no one-off. It’s an example of a much larger and more insidious mechanism of abuse within the fashion/“fashion” world. pic.twitter.com/8ITaN1Ag3s— Ξvan Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) 31 March 2019
Since posting the IG story including the acceptance of nude photos for the casting call (which has since been deleted), other IG’ers have come forward with stories of sexual misconduct by Ludovic. Nothing yet has been said to address these on Ludovic’s social media channels so far.
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In the post #MeToo area it’s increasingly vital that we continue having the conversations in the fashion industry about any activity that seems exploitative or even a little… dodgy. Other brands and creatives in the industry such as Russell Bateman of SBC and Gosha Rubchinsky have been accused of similar malpractices. It remains ever critical to call out mispractise when we see it unfold.