The underage model saga continues. Given the recent controversies regarding underage models, including one that involved CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg discovering that one of her models, Hailey Clauson (yes, the same one involved in that Urban Outfitters lawsuit), was only 15 at the time of her runway show, the CFDA is introducing new measures to ensure the safety and legality of models in the fashion industry.
According to WWD, Furstenberg and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb sent out a letter to members yesterday recommending that they start carding models on the day of the show (before they hit the runway) to make sure they meet the 16 year age minimum. That seems like something they should do earlier, like in the casting stages, or before their agencies send them out, but I guess better late than never?
Yeah, and the 14-year-olds are really tricky. I mean, they’re children. I said two years ago, “No models under 16.” Well, of course, right after I said that, we started seeing all of these girls from Eastern Europe, and every girl who’d walk in, you’d say, “Hi. What’s your name?” And she’d be like, “I’m Svetlana.” I’m like, “Svetlana, where are you from?” “Ukraine.” “Svetlana, how old are you?” “16.” Next girl walks in—she’s from Eastern Europe and 16. Next one? Eastern European and 16. I was like, “Was there a bus?"
However, Kors' problem with super young models is not the just legal and moral ramifications--he goes on to say,
But I still think it’s a tricky thing because no matter how beautiful you might be at 15 or 16, the simple truth is that you haven’t lived enough to really know how to project anything in a photograph. It’s like a kind of blank beauty.
Also, the idea of a 14-year-old wearing Michael Kors is just weird, no?
The CFDA is also launching the "CFDA Ambassador Program," which sounds like some sort of mentorship program for the fashion world's incoming freshmen. Apparently, relative modeling veterans Sara Ziff and Lily Aldridge have signed on as ambassadors to give support and advice to new models at their respective agencies. We just hope there's no hazing involved.