Suit: Aspen Fashion Summit is not a model organization |

Suit: Aspen Fashion Summit is not a model organization

ASPEN – A national talent agency that sent 19 models to Aspen Fashion Week in March claims that the event has profited by using their images in promotional materials and selling them to at least one soap opera.

Wilhelmina Denver LLC on Wednesday filed suit against Aspen Fashion Summit LLC, the corporate name for Aspen Fashion Week. The suit seeks more than $37,000, claiming that Aspen Fashion Summit has failed to reimburse Wilhelmina for its services.

Filed in Pitkin County District Court, Wilhelmina’s suit contends that Aspen Fashion Summit had agreed to pay the agency $1,200 for each model, along with a 20 percent agency fee of $4,560.

Attempts to reach Fashion Week’s organizer, Aspen resident Lisa Johnson, were not successful Tuesday.

The fifth annual Aspen Fashion Week is set for March 10 to 13, according to the event’s website. Its partners include a host of nonprofits along with such household names as The Wall Street Journal, Bentley automobiles and Outside magazine.

The event has, however, taken its lumps over the years, as some vendors and employees have taken it to court over unpaid bills.

Wilhelmina, which also has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and New York and whose website bills it as “one of the most prominent agencies in the fashion industry worldwide,” is the latest litigant.

And its suit accuses Aspen Fashion Summit not only of not making good on its debt but also of selling and using images of Wilhelmina’s models without its permission, “including a sale of images and footage from the popular television show, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.'”

“Some of the images and footage used contain pictures of minors, and parental consent has not been obtained, nor has any consent been obtained by (Wilhelmina),” the suit says.

The models worked at Aspen Fashion Week from March 7 to 10, the suit says. Wilhelmina, at the event’s request, also dispatched its own employees to the event to work with and oversee the models, all while racking up expenses for food, travel and lodging – to the tune of $11,000 – the complaint says.

The suit makes three claims for relief: breach of contract, unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel, which is legalese used to allege that Aspen Fashion Summit broke its agreement.

Denver attorney Jon J. Olafson filed the suit on behalf of Wilhelmina.

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