Fashion has a huge influence in France and is arguably the second biggest industry in the country. However, it comes with its own set of problems. Other than body image issues, the fashion industry has always been ridden with instances of sexual harassment and now, as Italian author Giulia Mensitieri points out in her new book The Most Beautiful Job in the World, most workers are not even being paid their minimum due.
As per reports in The Guardian, the author said, “The book’s salient claim is that when we think of exploitation in the fashion we think of sweatshops abroad or sexual harassment of models. But that’s not what I was interested in. I was looking at the creative side: stylists, make-up artists, young designers, interns, assistants. What I really want to make clear is that exploitation exists at the very heart of the powerfully symbolic and economic centre of the big luxury brands. But it is a different form of exploitation.”
The author in her book also mentions Mia, a successful Italian stylist who had moved to Paris and was living a difficult life. When the ladies had met for the first time, Mia was allegedly wearing Chanel shoes and carrying a Prada handbag, being flown across the world in business class, but sadly, she lacked money to rent a house or even have a proper meal. “For a week’s work, a very big luxury brand gave her a voucher for €5,000 (£4,500) to spend in their boutique”, Mensitieri said.
Thorough research has revealed that high-end fashion houses are paying employees in convoluted, unpredictable ways that cannot easily be turned into cash.
According to The Guardian, people who work for the big brands have written to the author to say they had never considered themselves exploited before they read her book. “They say that, now they’ve read the book … they began to see the big picture and little fragments of their own experiences. And once they understand the big picture, they can’t look at fashion and their job in fashion or themselves in the same way.”