Here at Women UK, we have been looking at the topic of underage models within the fashion industry. We all remember last year the outrage over Sofia Mechetner, we here at Women UK couldn’t help being surprised by the pictures of this stunning and beautiful model walking the catwalk in the Christian Dior show. The 14-year-old model was dressed in a sheer dress which clearly revealed her young figure beneath. (We have blurred the photo of Sofia Mechetner nipples as she is under 16 years)
Now we all know that young models are nothing new in the world of fashion. Kate Moss was famously signed to Storm Model Management when she was just 14 years old, while Cara Delevingne first graced the pages of Italian Vogue at the tender age of 10 – albeit wearing a children’s line of clothing.
Where though is the line drawn between a model modelling a fashion line and possibly child exploitation?
Young models may soon gain increased protection in the United States after a bill laying out federal expectations for their treatment has made its way to Congress. The Child Performers Protection Act of 2015, brought by Representative Grace Meng of New York, will seek to “limit the number of hours that children may be employed as actors, performers, and models,” to nine hours per day – along with other key stipulations.
The bill would require each child model to hold a blocked trust account where at least 15 per cent of their earnings could be deposited before they were able to accept work, and would prevent the account from being accessed by either the model whilst they were under 18, or by the child’s parents. Payment in “trade” – or clothes in the case of the fashion industry – instead of money would be banned.
British Fashion Council (BFC) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), have previously issued guidelines to designers asking that only models who are at least 16 years old appear in catwalk shows. The BFC has even banned models under 16 years old from walking in London Fashion Week entirely.
More often than not, these young girls are signed up straight out of school, in fact while may are still at school and are immersed into a cut throat business and environment where harsh criteria exists based on image.
Kate Moss has previously admitted in interviews that pressure to pose in sexualised shoots at a young age contributed to her having a “nervous breakdown” at the age of 17. Although such a high profile model like Kate Moss has spoken out about the exploitation of young models, it seems we have a long way to go.
Is it a fairy-tale for our young beautiful teens? Or a life of rejection and judgement for money? Please let us know your opinion……….