Some of Britain's top model agencies were raided this past week amidst allegations that they are engaged in price fixing. Investigators from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a government department in the United Kingdom responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities, started an investigation into a number of firms in March, including Storm Model Management (which reps Jourdan Dunn, Anna Ewers, Behati Prinsloo Levine, Eva Herzigova, Cindy Crawford and Karolina Kurkova, amongst others and which launched the careers of Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne), Premier Model Management (which has Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Bar Refaeli, and top men’s faces like Simone Nobili and go-to Givenchy model Filip Hrivnak) and Models 1 (which has Anne V, Linda Evangelista, Olivia Palermo, and Amber and Yasmine Le Bon on its board).
The investigative efforts, which are being headed up by the cartels and criminal group at the CMA, come the heels of reports that the three top agencies have been colluding to drive up appearance fees for the models on their rosters.
According to source, the agencies at issue “bitterly resent the retailers trying to force down their prices and are convinced one or more big retailers lodged a complaint with the CMA.” As part of the recent raids, the CMA seized computer hard drives and files of printed documents from the agencies’ London offices. In addition, bosses at the agencies have been questioned by investigators regarding the alleged scheme to fix the prices they charge to big brands and retailers for models.
While the CMA refuses to confirm the agencies it is targeting, a spokesman did state that the CMA is presently "information gathering" and awaiting "formal or informal information requests and parties’ responses.” It is expected to make a decision in October on whether there is a case to answer. According to a formal statement, the CMA also stated: "The CMA has opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the UK clothing, footwear and fashion sector which may infringe Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union."