#MeToo NY Fashion show spotlights sexual harassment of runway models

Eight models, all subject to sexual harassment or assault in one form or another, took advantage of New YorkFashion Week on Friday to raise awareness for the #MeToo movement sweeping the US.

Far from the bright lights of the most coveted fashion tickets in town, none of the women were famous. 

Instead it was an overtly political show organized by advocate and entrepreneur Myriam Chalek, who has made a name for herself by putting marginalized models on the runway.

The Texan-born designer turned director showcased "Pussy Power" purses - Chalek says it is the entire point of her show.

"I feel like every woman has some kind of responsibility to do something and contribute to change," Chalek said. "If you are saying it's time to change or time's up, then do some-thing about it."

The clothes were not the star of the show, although the 30-year-old said the mix of fur and leather on the one hand, with silk and tulle on the other aimed to show both the strength and femininity of women.

"The difference with this fashion show is that one of the criteria [for models] is that you had to be a victim of sexual misconduct to take part in this show," she said.

After walking the runway before the roughly 200 assembled guests, the eight models each took to the microphone in turn.

In a few minutes they told their story, often years old of how a friend of the family, a boyfriend or an online predator had harassed them, assaulted or even raped them, their voices often breaking.

"I am a little shaken," said one, after recounting in detail how she was raped by a date and didn't dare tell her mother for weeks.

"Standing here and talking about this is so important... I'm really sorry to say 'me too,' but I am really glad we are doing something about it finally," she added to huge applause.


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