Yomi Abiola, a former model, Nigerian activist, and occasional contributor to Vogue Italia, just launched Stand Up For Fashion, or STUFF. The organization intends to use the fashion industry as a force for good, to promote social change within the industry in a manner that has far-reaching consequences.
STUFF won’t really get rolling until the spring of 2013 — when it hosts a summit in New York to address a range of issues — but the organization’s mission is clear. Besides promoting a more diverse use of non-underage models, and better working conditions for those girls, STUFF also wants to reach out to fashion’s consumers. Planned education outreach is intended to counteract the negative impact fashion so often has on the female self-image. And finally, the organization wants to come up with an overall action plan to improve the industry’s image in general (promoting better working conditions for models and trying to undo some of the damage of Photoshop is probably a good start).
Initiatives to organize and protect models already exist — the former model Sarah Ziff’s Model Alliance is probably the best known institution — but STUFF is the first organization we’ve heard about that attempts to address the needs of both the industry’s workers and its consumers. With a range of endorsements, from UNESCO (with whom Abiola has been involved for a while) and one of our fashion favorites, AHAlife, STUFF has a good head start to make effective changes come spring.