In collaboration with Kenneth Cole, the Cut presents Stepping Up, a two-part inquiry into how a couple of modern change-makers have turned good intentions into progress.
Born-and-bred New Yorker Sara Ziff was an activist well before it became a thing among her model-industry peers. While today there’s a surge of high-profile models advocating for social change, Ziff founded the not-for-profit Model Alliance back in 2012. For the past five years, the organization has worked to reform unfair and exploitative modeling industry practices and to secure legal protections for working models. From calling for financial transparency from management, to combatting sexual harassment and neglect of child labor laws, to spotlighting health-endangering body standards, the Alliance is an example to any would-be activist.
As a member of Kenneth Cole’s Courageous Class campaign, Ziff is continuing to amplify her voice in an industry that’s notorious for penalizing outspokenness. Watch above as Ziff (who has a master’s in public policy) explains what drives her work, and how the Alliance has persisted to achieve tangible results. Then hit the pavement for your own cause in shoes from Kenneth Cole’s spring collection, below.
Produced by Robert Hanewich; Directed by Ryan Bair; Styling by Jess Mederos; Hair and Makeup by Mari Shten