Patina of Glamour: Forging Alliances to Investigate the Underside of the Fashion Industry

Synopsis: Modeling is a glamorous and lucrative profession only for the very few.  Most fashion models make little money, and often they are subject to indifferent or even abusive working conditions, putting them at elevated risk of sexual harassment and eating disorders.  Legislators in the fictitious U.S. state of Columbia are the latest to join in the global movement to rectify some of the most egregious wrongs done to models in the fashion industry, after the death of a teenage model with an eating disorder prompts a new law and attention to the problem. Safiya Goplani, a physician and researcher in Hamilton, Columbia’s capital, is eager to investigate the new legislation and hopes to apply the methods of community-based participatory research to develop a close partnership with professional models.  But as Goplani and her team quickly learn, establishing priorities and shared goals requires a lot more attention to the partners’ unique perspectives than a typical research study. Will Goplani and her team be able to successfully forge a partnership with the model community and carry out the new research study?

Skills: In this case students learn how community-based participatory research can be used to develop community partnerships to solve difficult occupational health and labor rights problems like those faced by professional models.

Narrative Document for Students

Lesson Plan for Teachers