Goodie bags from sponsors in the BFC’s The Model Zone

The Model Zone is an exclusive space for models to rest, eat, drink and receive treatments during London Fashion Week, in between their castings, catwalk shows and presentations. Run by the British Fashion Council, it is the current incarnation of what began as The Model Sanctuary, a groundbreaking initiative launched in 2008 by All Walks co-founder and British supermodel Erin O’Connor.

Concerns had been raised regarding the health and vulnerability of young models working during London Fashion Week inspiring Erin to launch The Model Sanctuary following the Model Health Inquiry report in 2007. The “Fashioning a Healthy Future” report outlined recommendations to better educate and support models in maintaining a healthier working lifestyle, especially during the height of the industry’s activity: fashion week.

I worked with Erin at The Model Sanctuary and since she passed the baton to the British Fashion Council (BFC) in 2012, I am proud to say I have continued to play a part in The Model Zone, helping to maintain what Erin began.

Rebecca Eleady Cole wearing her LFW pass

At The Model Zone, models are welcomed into a private space in a discrete west London location to lounge and sleep, eat and drink, enjoy a massage, or simply socialise whilst watching the shows. Importantly, the models have access to life-coaching sessions, pilates, general fitness and personal training sessions, at which they can also gain nutritional advice.

The BFC should be praised for taking the physical and psychological well-being of models seriously during London Fashion Week, as should the many sponsors providing goodie bags of healthy products. Working in The Model Zone, you can tell from discussions between models that it is a relief in such a manic period for them to be able to take a brief period of ‘time-out’ if they need it. Being able to be a part of this essential set-up and working with the wonderfully attentive staff from the BFC is something I look forward to each season.

Words: Rebecca Eleady Cole, Contributor