HomeUKAmerican stylists "proud" of their British counterparts are unionizing, but duplicating efforts...

American stylists “proud” of their British counterparts are unionizing, but duplicating efforts in the United States could be difficult, experts say

The search for better working conditions in Hollywood has moved to the other side of the pond and towards another industry, as stated by a group of businessmen from the United Kingdom. stylists recently announced the formation of Union of famous stylists, a subsidiary of Bectu, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theater Union in Europe. In line with a wave of labor activity this year, and as dual strikes by writers and actors continue in Hollywood, the stylists’ union is looking to regulate its pay structure with the goal of establishing rate sheets and best practices to take hours into account. late, the last hours. painstaking requests, prep work and up-front costs related to making looks, making items, shipping clothes and travel for which many say they receive no compensation.

Stylist based in New York Sara Slutsky He says conditions in the United States are no different. “We serve the same types of clients who work for the same networks,” explains Slutsky, who has styled actresses Mandy Moore, Jessica Williams and Elizabeth Olsen. It’s for that reason that he supports UK stylists coming together to unionize and says he “sincerely hopes” that US stylists will be inspired to join in a similar effort. “I personally identify with all the experiences conveyed by stylists in the United Kingdom; In all honesty, it’s a bit of a relief to know that I’m not alone, but rather part of a global community that has been struggling with the same issues. .”

Nigerian designer and image director Moses eagle, which calls the UK stylists union “a beautiful thing,” can attest to the need for reform. “As someone who has worked as a costume designer, celebrity stylist, and fashion editor, I’ve definitely seen a lot of unfair situations and policies that don’t serve us,” she says.

Two of the policies that top the list of concerns of the Los Angeles-based creative known for styling the Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma, singer Jon Batista and actor Jeremy Pope are rates and payment terms.

“In general, studio budgets are extremely low in terms of what they give the stylist for the clothes and for their work. Not only that, there is usually a net 60 or net 90 clause to get your money back,” says Mozie.

“For example, if there is an announcement for a movie premiere and they hire a celebrity stylist to do it, the stylist now has to go out and use their own credit card and their own funds to purchase items and buy everything that is sold.” needs,” he said. Explain. “I have staff, so I have to pay my team and my assistants to do the work. By the time we’re done, I’m probably five to ten thousand dollars in the hole, and I have to wait 30, 60, sometimes 90 days to get reimbursed. That is something that happens very frequently.”

The money required to take on clients has made starting or even maintaining a career as a celebrity stylist extremely difficult. “From the stylist’s point of view, the studios have created an ‘industry standard’ pay scale that no stylist accepted. We had no say in how these standards were created, and frankly, these standards are unsustainable,” Slutsky says. “The studios dictate that we work for fixed rates, and that all expenses come from our fees for our creativity and work. These rates do not take into account our unique skills, our experience, the demands of each individual job or the time required to complete the jobs.” Representatives for Amazon, Apple, Disney, CBS, HBO, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment.

Another common practice that defrauds stylists is shopping, says Brian Javor, Quinta Brunson’s reference stylist.

“Say a client has a speaking engagement and their fee is $80,000 and an additional $20,000 would be allocated to glamour, sometimes the agent, manager or publicist will make a $100,000 purchase, rather than the client just taking the $80,000, so they can allocate how much goes to what,” he explains. “So they can tell you that you’re a client, now you’re going to make $89,000, for example, and we’re going to have hair and makeup as a done-and-done and we’re going to pay the stylist X amount (instead of paying a daily rate). This happens a lot. “Sometimes we make less money in situations where we should be making more.”

Scenarios like the one described highlight a major obstacle to the formation of a stylists’ union. “In my experience, if a celebrity is going to an event, they’re usually given a styling budget and then they go out and hire people, and that makes it a challenge for stylists to get organized, at least here in the United States.” says entertainment employment attorney Michael Maizner of Maizner & Associates. “If it’s a one-on-one individualized relationship where the talent hires the stylist directly, that, to me, makes it difficult for there to be a bargaining unit for union representation. To have a bargaining unit, it is necessary that more than one person be the employer.”

Certain aspects of style are also difficult to regulate, adds Javar. Noting the nature of project-based work, he says, “I can’t force someone to guarantee me a certain amount of work.”

Forming a guild rather than a union may better fit the unique nature of the hairstylist profession, Maizner says. “Stylists can come up with standards and practices that say, as a member, I won’t do X type of work for less than a certain amount. That could be effective if they form almost like a trade association, really what a guild should be, to establish some standards that they will only work under. No one has to be part of a collective bargaining agreement, but as a member, they can raise the bar in terms of what they will work for.”

Whatever course of action stylists decide to take, now is the time to act, Maizner adds, citing the labor movement occurring across industries. “What they are doing in the UK is fantastic because it makes them aware of what is happening and how difficult it is for them.”

Mozie agrees. “I think the best way to be successful would be to align ourselves with an existing union or a strike that’s already going on, like the way the actors joined forces and aligned themselves with the writers,” she says. “Stylists and costumers go hand in hand with the actors, so the actors have to be supportive of the costumers and the designers, and then the writers also have to be supportive so that we can all work together.

“The strength are in the numbers. That’s why I’m very proud that they’ve at least started the conversation in the UK,” he adds. “The more people and groups we can understand and join forces, the better and faster we can reach the solution.”

Slutsky believes that American stylists witnessing how negotiations with the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild unfold will spur action among stylists sooner rather than later. “The strikes have given us the time and space to consider the expectations they had of us,” he says. “I think a lot of stylists are wondering when the strike is over: will we be happy to go back to work if nothing has changed for us too?”

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