Kunira under fire for failing to pay models

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SOUTHERN African Designers Community Fashion Week (SFW) director Charlene Kunira has come under fire from models and other participants in last year’s edition claiming they are yet to receive their dues.

by winstone antonio

The show was held in Harare last year between September 20 and 27

The models (names withheld) accused Kunira of flouting contractual agreements and ill-treating them while paying the international contingent.

“As part of the participant at the Sadc Fashion Week I signed my contact on September 21, stipulating that we were going to be given $30 per runway show. We are yet to be paid our money yet some of the international models were duly paid,” said one of the models.

Kunira said the contracts signed by the models stipulated that they were not going to be paid adding that the claims might be coming from the few unregistered models.

“At no stage were the models promised any payment. However, our well-wishers were able to provide the models transport, food and accommodation to support them during the show.

“All these processes were carefully explained at the workshops, monitored and executed by the Sadc Fashion Week organising committee to ensure the successful representation of the final output of the show,” Kunira said.

She said the SFW accommodated a few models who arrived late and allowed them to take part on the grounds that they would stay focused and learn from others in the spirit of empowering youth in the fashion industry in Zimbabwe.

The models, however, insisted that they registered via EcoCash.

“All the models to participate at the event were required to pay $20 as the registration fee which I did and signed the forms.

To my surprise, Charlene now says I was never selected to take part at the event. This is daylight robbery,” said another model
“I sacrificed to participate at the event with high hopes that I would get the necessary exposure for my modelling career. I called her several times, but she was not answering my calls. I sent her a message on WhatsApp, but she blocked me.”

Another model said she signed the contract as they agreed with the contractual terms that included the payment of $30 per runway, food and accommodation.

“I attended my first workshop at the now closed Book Cafe where she gave me tickets for the runway shows to sell.

“She sent me another picture message with details of the second workshop which I attended at Maestro Restaurant’s Koovha Gallery,” she said.

She said at Maestro, they joined models from Bulawayo and she and other models who had not signed contracts were given the contracts.

Zim fashion week participants

“Models from Bulawayo were staying in hotels paying for themselves including food and transport as they were promised reimbursement of their money.

“The same happened to some models from Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa who arrived on the second day of the show.”
Kunira said some models breached their contracts due to bad behaviour and general unprofessional conduct which was beyond the control of the SFW team.

“A few participants and designers unfortunately demonstrated unprofessional behaviour including disrespectful emails, stealing of clothing worth $2 000 after the show and bullying of other models during the model camp and a few other negative outcomes,” she said.

Sadc Fashion Week’s registrations and auditions for the participants were held in Harare, Bulawayo, Johannesburg (South Africa) and Windhoek, Namibia.

The fashion show was held under the theme: Utilising Natural Resources while Creating Social and Economic Transformations within Southern Africa.