Innovator and Activist Federico Pignatelli Shares The Industries Current Landscape And Perspective On Models Rights.
Interviewed by Ally Panico
Since entering the fashion industry over a decade ago, Founder of The INDUSTRY Model Mgmt, Pier 59 Studios, and creator of the Model’s Bill of Rights, Federico Pignatelli has been making monumental strides as both an innovator and activist.
Known as “The Hollywood of Photography” and for holding one of the most famous venues of New York Fashion Week, Federico continues to fight for the rights of models while rapidly expanding his Pier59 and the coveted INDUSTRY Model Mgmt.
In this article, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit down with Federico and talk about his many achievements, the current modelling landscape and his flourishing businesses, here is what he had to say.
AP: You’ve had quite the journey with your career, from being a real estate developer in Italy to international finance in Switzerland and London to founding your own incubation technology based investment-banking firm. Tell us, what led you to create Pier59 Studios - one of the most iconic venues for fashion weeks, international photography and multimedia.
FP: My resolute passion for the art of photography and videography, and the vision that more then ever, because of technological evolution, Advertising Campaigns would be realized in studios instead of at locations.
AP: You also run, The INDUSTRY Model MGMT, how did you go about creating this agency?
FP: I founded INDUSTRY Model MGMT and I am involved in the major decisions and direction of the Agency, however, I am not involved in the day to day operations. I leave it to the high-end professionals that I was lucky to hire, with whom we share the same vision.
I realized that the synergies between INDUSTRY and PIER59 STUDIOS were unique. I thought the studios would have been a phenomenal platform to launch and support the growth of the modelling business of my Holding Company, Art & Fashion Group.
The vision I had was correct and since then, the INDUSTRY has enjoyed an explosive growth and expansion in just over 2 years.
Photos via Instagram @theindustryny
AP: What were some of the things you set out to accomplish with the agency and do you feel that you have you achieved them?
FP: So far all the goals that I set out to achieve have been successfully accomplished and more. One of the more notable goals was to be innovative in how we manage and treat Models, this was accomplished by implementing the Model Bill of Rights - which I founded.
AP: You talk a lot about the importance of pay for models, and their need to be cognizant of their rights within the industry. Can you elaborate on this and the fundamental issues within the industry that you are trying to bring to light?
FP: The modelling business had grown unregulated over the last 30 years from the expansion of a few glamorous players. It has become a large industry with tens of thousands models and agents, as the Advertising and Fashion business continues to grow exponentially. Today, there is a need to regulate and treat this business as a professional one and framing how payments are to be made is part of this evolution.
AP: What steps can agencies/casting directors/brands take to be more ethical?
FP: They need to start adopting the Models Bill of Rights.
AP: How would you say your agency is different than other modelling agencies?
FP: We are innovative in all aspects of management and training, with a view into future trends, not only the current ones. In this way, we can prepare the models for a longer and more successful career. Implementing the Models Bill of Rights has been another factor of distinction.
AP: Since you started in the industry what changes have you seen in the modelling industry?
FP: The modelling business is evolving rapidly along with technological changes, such as social media and the explosive adoption of video advertising versus still photography.
AP: When people think of you, your agency or even Pier59 Studios, what do want to come to mind for them?
FP: I want them to be in touch with the realities of the marketplace and keep in perspective the constant innovation of the advertising world.
AP: What are the major takeaways that you want a model or prospective model to have if they are reading this interview?
FP: That they should seriously consider being with The INDUSTRY Model Mgmt if they want to become a thriving and highly successful model.