A group of models have been deliberating on their position in the local fashion industry and have decided to petition for a minimum wage for modelling services rendered.
The group consists of mostly young fashion enthusiasts of whom some took part in the MTC Windhoek Fashion Week recently.
They also feel they do not get the recognition they deserve.
Based on voting that took place, the team decided to go for reasonable rates, including N$550 per hour for corporate enterprises when pictures are used, and an extra N$250 per month for continued use of the image among others.
This reporter has taken notice of various photos of models on billboards and other platforms across the country, some dating back to as far as 2016 but on average, these models only received around N$350 to N$500 once-off, while the same companies are still benefitting from the promotional material.
Services models render include modelling on runway shows, video and photo shoots for campaigns, being brand ambassadors, among others.
Model agent and international pageant contributor Bobby Kaanjosa said indeed discrepancies are happening in the fashion industry regarding the payment of models, something that has been going on for a long time.
“I have made a career because of the modelling industry; my job as an agent does not entail sitting at home but because the industry doesn’t pay, I need to venture into other things like styling,” he told VIBEZ!
“People don’t pay attention to the craft. The current rates are not allowing models to make a living; the industry is exploiting models. My job as an agent is to make sure I propel models to greater heights by linking them to international spaces.”
Kaanjosa used Italy and South Africa as examples, saying models there make a living out of it.
“Our current Miss Namibia Chelsi Shikongo is a classic example that one can make a living out of modelling. She was already an international model working in Cape Town before taking over the crown as Miss Namibia this year.”
He said the industry needs to be more open-minded and pay models what they deserve because the moment they are paid well, they can contribute and pay tax like everyone else but the current earnings are just for people to get by.
Model and fashion enthusiast Luis Munana told VIBEZ! several local companies have been using mainly local models, but some models are not getting paid accordingly, hence the petition.
“I suggested we start a petition to establish an industry-based rate,” said Munana.
“You get companies that want to pay models N$800 and use the model’s image for two years depending on the duration of the campaign. What happens is these models are on set the whole day, but they get that one fee. That’s ridiculous and a nightmare.”
Munana said the bigger vision is for creatives to sign the petition and push it to become law.
“We want to make this a law and ensure a minimum rate for models and other creatives. The next step is to engage advertising agencies and marketing managers. The modelling industry needs these players for survival, and we have to be on the same page and understand each other.”
He said this is a work in progress because when the Windhoek Fashion Week started in 2016, models were getting paid about N$250, but the numbers are slowly changing and now one of the highest figures is about N$4 000.