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British authorities looking into allegations of price fixing raided three top agencies representing top models like Jourdan Dunn, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista, The Independent reports. Investigators reportedly seized documents and computers from the offices of Storm Model Management, Premier Model Management, and Models 1. The agencies face accusations of collusion to drive up appearance fees for the models represented, as The Fashion Law puts it.
The agencies didn't respond to comment from The Independent, but a spokesperson for the Competitions and Markets Authority confirmed an investigation was in progress. The agencies could face steep fines if they are found to have breached competition laws. Why would these modeling agencies work together? A source told the Daily Mail:
Big name high street retailers are desperate to drive the price of modelling fees down as they’re having to shoot more clothes and from every angle for their websites. It’s no longer about high-end glossy magazine shoots and the retailers believe they should be paying less. The agencies insist that they charge high prices because they’re selling quality. It’s a market and they set their own prices and, while there may be industry standards, the allegation is that the agencies are meeting as a cartel to agree prices. They bitterly resent the retailers trying to force down their prices and are convinced one or more big retailers lodged a complaint with the CMA.
The Independent reports that authorities are slated to make a decision in October whether to proceed with the investigation or close the case.