Treat models right! That was suppose to be the behavior for this Fashion Week season. But the latest instagram post by model and photographerLouise Parker brings some questions.

Parker flew to Paris for a trial fitting for Balenciaga to be a “first option” for a “go and see,” moreover they asked to cut her hair in a short, boyish style. Parker had toaccept changes to her appearance and she did. Although Balenciaga called her agent the brand never confirmed that she would walk in the show. Thinking that the hair could mean she is in,  Parker had hopes and stayed professional about it. Louise Parker ended up being cut from the show but she did not stay quiet about.

This is not the first time Balenciaga casting agents come under fire for the way they treat models. Remember Maida Gregori Boina and Rami Fernandes story and how they kept models inthe dark stairwell? As if that wasn't a lesson for them.

An open letter from Parker to Balenciaga and Kering.

I want to begin this note by stating that I take responsibility for this situation (I chose to be a model, even after graduating from college I still chose this profession). Furthermore, after five years of working in this industry, I should have known a flight, a fitting and a haircut never guarantees anything. Lastly, I’d like to be clear and acknowledge that for the most part, I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career, have worked with amazing people and been treated very well. I understand that this story is quite insignificant as far as the rest of the world is concerned, and that right now it seems ridiculous to complain about what, at face-value, is just a long flight and a haircut. I know we all have problems, but this feeling of powerlessness and disposability is a pattern. I’m sick of it, and I know I am not the only one.

I am a 28-year-old model. We count in dog years in my profession. That basically makes me dead. Which is fine, I’m pretty much over it, but at the end of the day I do still love my job and most importantly, it pays the rent. So when my agent let me know that Balenciaga was interested in me for their show, I was really excited. Like every other job, I was wary it wouldn’t work out so I told no one but my fiancé about this opportunity. I didn’t want to jinx it. Less than two weeks before the show my agent sent them updated digitals and a video. They immediately booked me for a fitting and on Thursday I took a twelve-hour trip from Los Angeles to Paris for my appointment with Balenciaga.

On Friday at my fitting I tried on several looks and to my delight the stylist and designer found one they liked on me. After having it fit to my body, they asked me if I would cut my hair to better fit the show. I take my job seriously and I want to work — I always do my best to please my clients — so I agreed. They called my agent to ask for permission; I made sure they understood I was okay with it. It was my decision and my mistake. But in that context, it felt like an ultimatum.

They cut my hair, and I remained calm and professional while I presented the stylist with my new look. She approved and I waited for the team to pull my outfit, which had already been relocated off the floor — an indication that my look had been “validated.” Like I said, I’ve been cancelled from many shows before, even an hour leading up to one, and I’ve spent countless hours in the middle of the night at fittings for shows that end up not working out, so I understand you’re never truly confirmed until you’ve walked out onto the runway. But this felt different from those situations; I felt lead on. They photographed me in my look with my new haircut and I left feeling excited and grateful for the opportunity.

That evening, I received a message from my agent saying that they needed to cut my hair even shorter, “sort of up to her ears.” Desperate, I agreed again. It didn’t end up happening though, because the next day I didn’t hear anything. I found out, through a friend, that there was a rehearsal happening for the show within the next hour. I contacted my agent and she informed me that she had been working hard to keep me in the show but was told “she does not fit the line up.” She was pissed and I was devastated.

Like I said, I blame myself in the end; I was too eager, too willing to please. I allowed them to take advantage of my time and my body. I wanted the job, I tried to make it work, and did my best to be polite and flexible. I chose to post about this on Instagram and write about this here not because I want sympathy, or think that this is a unique situation (because it’s not, far worse things happen to models every day), but because I am tired of being treated this way. If you don’t work in the industry, it might be hard to relate, but imagine this in the context of having virtually no control over your working life, where your body and image is your currency, where you constantly feel disposable, and where you’re often left in the dark, bending to powerful clients. I know you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you, but reaching out through social media helped me take back some of the power and control I felt I had lost.

The industry has taken steps to make our lives better and I respect that. In Paris, before walking a show you have to visit a doctor to confirm you have a healthy BMI. Balenciaga went out of their way to be polite throughout my fitting; they had plenty of food for us and even had a therapist available to us 24/7. But I cannot help to see the hypocrisy there as I was led on to believe that these were decent, caring professionals.

Designers, stylists, casting directors, etc. need to recognize their position of power. It is not unreasonable for one to assume that after a flight, a fitting and a haircut that one is confirmed for a show. The fact that this is not the case is painful and confusing. Industry wide guidelines need to be implemented in order to provide models true clarity on these sorts of situations, especially when it comes to changing someone’s physical appearance. Why wasn’t this discussed beforehand with my agent? They knew my current hair length, why fly me all the way without telling me ahead of time? Please Balenciaga, Kering, take a more holistic approach to addressing model’s concerns by recognizing the fundamental power imbalance at play, and update your policy.

Yes life is tough, the world is on fire, I know, I just believe I deserve to be treated as professionally as I strive to be. I am not a coat hanger.
— Louise Parker