We’ve spilled a lot of ink (ummm…pressed a lot of buttons?) here at The Gloss about the age of fashion models, what’s definitely appropriate, what isn’t, and what is somewhat debatable. And we’re not alone in questioning the issue; under the leadership of Diane von Furstenberg, the Council of Fashion Designers of America released health guidelines for the industry in 2007 which included the suggestion that girls under 16 not be allowed to walk runways.
But Furstenberg learned the hard way just how difficult it is to keep those wily kids away, and you’ll no doubt recall how uber-pissed off she was when she discovered that despite her wishes, 15-year-old Hailey Clauson (the same girl at the center of a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters) had walked her fall 2011 show.
Furstenberg wrote a public letter of apology, and now, she and CFDA’s CEO Steven Kolb have taken their initiative one step further — in a letter recently published on the group’s website, they strongly recommend carding girls before shows this Fashion Week:
The CFDA remains deeply committed to our message of Health As Beauty and Diversity during Fashion Week and throughout the year. Fashion Week has become a powerful voice which reaches millions of people across the globe and we should not underestimate the consequences of the messages that we send.
In our continuing quest to protect the models that we work with, we have updated the CFDA Health Initiative guidelines to recommend that models be asked for i.d. to ensure that they are at least 16 years old on the day of a show. The casting agents for the Diane von Furstenberg show will be doing this and we encourage others to do the same.
It seems to me that it wouldn’t be worth it for young models to incur the wrath of top designers — I can understand wanting something that badly, but I sure as shit wouldn’t want DVF mad at me if I was trying to break into the biz.