Kering Fashion Houses: A new hiring rule opposes models under 18

Council of Fashion Designers of America

In the latest news, Kering S.A. has announced to stop hiring models under 18 years of age. Kering S.A. is a leading international luxury group based in Paris, France. The company has some of the top brands among its possession, Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen are a few to name. Reports suggest the new hiring policy will come into effect from 2020-2021 Autumn/Winter collections.

This measure has been met owing to the work pressures and health conditions of young models. October 2017 recorded the death of Vlada Dzyuba, a 14-year old Russian model who collapsed backstage at the Shanghai Fashion Week and died later in the hospital. Incidences exposed with regards to the #MeToo movement also shed light on the increasing number of sexual harassment cases in the fashion industry. Moreover, reports suggest that Kering’s decision is a result of fashion brands which are increasingly trying to become ethical in designs and working practices. The industry has previously witnessed booming careers of young models; Naomi Campbell was only 16, when she started her career, whereas Kate Moss only 14, at the start of her fashion career. Brooke Shields was also only 14 when she appeared on the Vogue Front cover in 1980.

Fashion Industry stalwarts draw attention to the work pressures which have soared increasingly in comparison to the situation back in 1980s, when there were less fashion shows. Founder of the campaign group Model Alliance, Sara Ziff said in a statement, the policy was “a positive step towards eliminating the intense pressure models currently face to maintain an adolescent physique and to go to extremes to lose weight”. The Kering announcement has been supported by various veteran fashion experts, Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, reported: “The physiological and psychological maturity of models aged over 18 seems more appropriate to the rhythm and demands that are involved in this profession.”

Previously there have been other top-notch fashion companies who have raised awareness and objected to hire models under 18. “Vogue, along with a number of other publications, has played a role in making it routine for children – since that’s what they are – to be dressed and marketed as glamorous adults,” said an editorial at Vogue. In August last year, for instance Vogue magazine objected to model girls under 18 for their editorial shoots. It added: “No more: it’s not right for us, it’s not right for our readers, and it’s not right for the young models competing to appear in these pages. While we can’t rewrite the past, we can commit to a better future.”

Reports suggest, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has also made the decision against hiring models under 18. Moreover, in 2017 Kering and fashion group LVMH have been reported to sign a charter which agrees to stop hiring models under 18.  In other measures, fashion companies have also vowed to not hire ultra-thin models and to not use exotic animal skins and fur in their collection.