Bectu launches ‘Devil Wears Prada’ survey of Fashion Assistants fearing fiction is based on fact

22 January 2020

Our newly launched survey seeks to identify the scale of toxic fashion industry norms.

Fashion assistants

The fashion industry is renowned for mistreatment of workers

Leading creative industries trade union Bectu is concerned about the treatment of Fashion Assistants and has launched a survey to assess the scale of the problem following a number of approaches from workers.

The union is keen to research the scale of the issue, which could reveal the industry’s failure to move on and shake off its ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ reputation for poor treatment of junior staff.

The anonymous survey is open to anyone who works as a fashion assistant in the UK, in an industry underrepresented in the trade union movement – and asks questions around working conditions, bullying and harassment and low pay.

Lead organiser Jane Perry said: “We know that people entering the fashion industry as fashion assistants are having a very difficult time due to ingrained toxic cultures portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada.”

“We have had a number of enquiries from workers seeking to join the union and join together to take on these exploitative practices that are typically hidden behind promises of paid work in a glamorous creative industry.”

“It is not acceptable to think that abusive treatment of fashion assistants is an acceptable industry norm, and we encourage all Fashion Assistants to share their concerns, join the union and stick together to challenge this.”

To complete the survey, click here

The survey will close on Sunday 1st March. Bectu will then compile a report and present the findings at an open meeting to discuss next steps.

Join Bectu here

More information

Bectu is offering a special deal for fashion assistants to join for £7.50 per month for the first year. As Bectu members fashion assistants would be able to get one-to-one advice on any aspect of their work, everything from whether their pay is above national minimum wage to bullying (Bectu have a workshop on how to spot and stop perpetrators in their track.) As Bectu members fashion assistants would be able to take out Bectu’s Public Liability insurance for £38 per year. This insurance would cover items Fashion Assistants for items they carry as part of their job and it would also cover them for accidents at work – loss of wages for example.