A world-renowned stylist who counts Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo as clients has sued one of New York’s leading fashion magazines for $1.2 million over claims she worked for six years without pay.
Sarah Richardson claims she has been creative and fashion director of Document Journal from 2017 but wasn’t paid a penny despite the promise of a 30 percent stake in the magazine business and a $60,000-a-year salary, plus expenses.
She claims in a lawsuit filed in New York that the magazine’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, Nick Vogelson, instead dragged out negotiations about her pay ‘as a ruse to cynically tantalize’ Richardson into staying on board.
A legal complaint peppered with thinly-veiled barbs against Richardson’s former boss claims Vogelson was a relative nobody in the industry when he co-founded the magazine in 2012.
Vogelson ‘was an unknown figure in the fashion business with few, if any, contacts with stylists, make-up artists, photographers, and writers’, the lawsuit said.
Sarah Richardson (pictured) claims in a lawsuit that she worked for Document Journal for six years without pay. Richardson is described in the lawsuit as ‘sought after by the world’s leading fashion houses, brands, and publications’, including Calvin Klein
Richardson claims in a lawsuit filed in New York that the magazine’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, Nick Vogelson (pictured), didn’t deliver on a promise to give her a 30 percent stake of the business in exchange for her services as creative and fashion director
He recruited Richardson in 2016 when the magazine was ‘still at the fringe of the fashion industry and struggling financially’ and she was initially promised a 15-percent stake in the magazine business, plus $60,000 per year.
The promised stake was upped to 30 per cent soon after ‘because Sarah Richardson was providing such valuable services’, the lawsuit added. Several draft negotiations were drawn up but none was ever signed, it is alleged.
‘Vogelson used the inconclusive negotiations as a ruse to cynically tantalize Sarah Richardson and keep her working as the Creative Director of Document Journal,’ according to the complaint.
‘Nick Vogelson took a free ride on plaintiff’s expertise, creativity, network of contacts, and was enriched at plaintiff’s expense.’
Richardson never received a share of the company or a salary for her work, it said.
Along with her work for leading brands like Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo, Richardson was recently stylist for a Tiffany & Co. photoshoot featuring Hailey Bieber (pictured on the shoot)
Document Journal was launched in 2012 and Richardson was hired in 2016 while the magazine was ‘still at the fringe of the fashion industry and struggling financially’, the suit claims. Nick Vogelson, the editor, allegedly ‘took a free ride on Richardson’s expertise and contacts
Meanwhile, Vogelson ‘used the substantial cash flow to pay himself a compensation package, which includes a salary and reimbursement for personal expenses’.
The suit seeks $1.2 in compensatory damages from Vogelson and the magazine’s parent company, Document Publishing LLC, plus her legal costs.
Richardson is described in the lawsuit as ‘sought after by the world’s leading fashion houses, brands, and publications’. Her experience includes ‘a key role in the relaunch of Yves Saint Laurent’ and as a consultant for Nina Ricci and Jimmy Choo.
‘Sarah Richardson has worked closely with several major brands, including Uniqlo and Calvin Klein,’ the lawsuit said, adding she has ‘created some of the industry’s most iconic and original fashion imagery’.
She was previously global fashion director of i-D magazine, ‘a role which involved working alongside A-list celebrities and world-renowned directors and photographers’.
‘Under industry norms, a freelance creative director of Sarah Richardson’s talent, prestige, and contacts would command an annual fee of at least $150,000 to $250,000 for the services she rendered for the benefit of Document Journal,’ according to the lawsuit.
Richardson, pictured in 2013, is described in the lawsuit as ‘sought after by the world’s leading fashion houses, brands, and publications’
The lawsuit says that Vogelson (left), used the magazine’s ‘substantial cash flow’ to pay himself while failing to deliver a promised stake in the business to Richardson
Her other recent credits include working as stylist for a photoshoot of Hailey Bieber for Tiffany & Co. in 2022.
Document Journal is described as ‘an independent avant guard magazine devoted to culture, arts, and fashion’. The magazine, which is published twice a year, is headquartered in New York City.
The magazine is known for hosting glitzy parties at exclusive New York City venues and several of the events have been featured in Vogue.
Richardson’s address is listed in court filings as a six-bedroom townhouse worth an estimated $6.2 million in an upmarket suburb of north London.
Both Vogelson and Document Publishing LLC are listed in the suit at the same address in Brooklyn.
Richardson’s Instagram profile still lists her in the position at Document Journal.
According to Richardson’s verified profile on the models.com website, her recent clients include Calvin Klein and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, a luxury Italian brand.
The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York on November 9.