As the faces of the fashion industry, models play an important, but often solitary and silent role. Recognizing the personal dangers of isolation and silence, GUESS is implementing a major policy change with the launch of the GUESS Safe Spaces/Model2Model Program. The GUESS Safe Spaces/Model2Model Program will actively support the personal and professional development of our GUESS models through innovative skill-based training, professional mentorship and emotional/mental health resources. Recognizing that each participant brings unique challenges and needs, this program will seek to tailor support appropriate to the individual.
Created with the support of the GUESS executive team, Xian Mikol, an established GUESS model, will serve as the Program Administrator and work directly with Micha Star Liberty, an award-winning victim’s rights attorney, who will act as the Program’s Advisor. This team will be the foundation to guarantee that appropriate support is available as needed.
“I have experienced firsthand the pressures, struggles, and triumphs of the fashion world and their impact on a young model’s life. We designed GUESS Safe Spaces to give models a place to turn, gather advice from each other and create a community. I’m excited to strengthen the voices, build confidence and drive powerful and meaningful futures for models with GUESS,” said Xian Mikol.
Ms. Liberty adds, “This is an important initiative GUESS is undertaking. GUESS is a first in the industry to approach workers’ rights from the models’ perspective and proactively address a variety of issues that models commonly experience. With this mentorship and support, models can receive the tools and skillset to have healthy, long careers.”
A key component to this program is the strong community support through longtime GUESS partner, the Violence Intervention Program (VIP). VIP is a “one stop shop” community Family Advocacy Center, offering medical, mental health, protective, legal and social services to over 20,000 victims of family violence and sexual assault each year. GUESS is proud to announce that Safe Spaces participants will have access to VIP through a staffed position that will link the two companies. VIP founder Dr. Astrid Heppenstall Heger shares, “In the world of fashion where it is the norm for the industry to see models of both genders come and go, GUESS has committed to doing something and to demonstrating that yes, their models matter, but also everyone at GUESS matters. They are building a program that will provide the support so many seek to find safety and wellbeing. VIP is proud to be part of this and to setting a new standard of support and care in the workplace.”
While the initial focus of this ground-breaking program addresses the needs of the GUESS modeling family, the long-term goal is to extend these services to the entire GUESS family. The corporate initiative will include additional elements including enhanced independent reporting and review capabilities, and continued education surrounding the issues of sexual assault and violence prevention.
About GUESS?, Inc.
Established in 1981, GUESS began as a jeans company and has since successfully grown into a global lifestyle brand. GUESS?, Inc. (NYSE: GES) designs, markets, distributes and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, denim, handbags, watches, eyewear, footwear and other related consumer products. GUESS? products are distributed through branded GUESS? stores as well as better department and specialty stores around the world. As of January 30, 2021, the Company directly operated 1,046 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The Company’s partners and distributors operated 524 additional retail stores worldwide. As of January 30, 2021, the Company and its partners and distributors operated in approximately 100 countries worldwide. For more information about the Company, please visit www.GUESS.com.
About Violence Intervention Program
Founded in 1984 by Dr. Astrid Heppenstall Heger, the Violence Intervention Program has worked to protect and treat all those who experience family violence and sexual assault in Los Angeles County. At VIP, our passion is our clients. Our model has a lasting impact because we go beyond traditional care, providing personalized and detailed support that makes a world of difference in giving hope and healing to the children, families and elders we serve. 20,000+ children receive medical care from VIP every year. Through partnerships with LAC+USC Medical Center, the Los Angeles Departments of Health Services, Children and Family Services, and Mental Health, and private donors, all services at VIP are provided free of charge to the client. For more information about VIP, please contact Communications Manager, Anne Nadel, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.violenceinterventionprogram.org