High Fashion Brands No Longer to Use Under 18 Models

France is continuing to lead the way for model and consumer wellbeing with another change in their modelling industry.

French fashion house Kering, who owns luxury fashion brands Gucci, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, has made the decision to stop using under 18 models on the catwalk and in advertising campaigns.

France Targets “Unrealistic Beauty Standards”

This isn’t the first move in France to counter the negative impact and influence that advertising with young teens can have on consumers.

Back in 2017, France passed a law to target “unrealistic beauty standards” and the apparently connected rise in eating disorders. The new law states that seriously underweight models are no longer able to work as models.

Models who appear underweight are now required to provide health notes from their doctors proving their BMI (Body Mass Index) is healthy in order for them to work.

Fashion houses who break the rules face a fine of up to €75,000 or even imprisonment of up to 6 months.

France is continuing to lead the way for model and consumer wellbeing with another change in their modelling industry.

Vogue Stops Using Under 18’s

Following this movement, others in the fashion industry began to make positive changes. In 2018, Media company Conde Nast (who publish Vogue Magazine) promised to stop using under-18’s in their advertisements.

They announced that “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.

“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.”

Kering Makes Changes

Now, French fashion group Kering has taken another step forward and also vowed to no longer use under-18 models.

Possibly due to pressure from changes made by Conde Nast in previous years, fashion house Kering stated at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2019 that they, too, will no longer be using underage models.

Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, stated: “We are conscious of the influence exerted on younger generations in particular by the images produced by our houses.

“We believe that we have a responsibility to put forward the best possible practices in the luxury sector and hope to create a movement that will encourage others to follow.”

Model Alliance founder, Sara Ziff, said the decision 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”.

Their new policy comes into effect this year in time for their autumn/winter collections.

LVMH Follows Suit

LVMH – another luxury giant – is also planning to stop using 16-year-old models wearing adult clothing in their shoots.

The move comes ahead of New York Fashion Week which takes place in February in order to “ensure the wellbeing of models”.

All designers have been banned from using French size 32 models (size XXS/zero in the US, or a size 4 in the UK).

It also states that no models under the age of 18 are allowed to be offered alcohol, and all models under 18 are required to have a parent, guardian or chaperone with them at all times.

Why is Using Underage Models Bad?

These changes are happening after the poor working conditions of models began coming to light. Both models and those in the industry are using social media to speak out about the ill-treatment they see and have received.

At last years Paris Fashion Week, American casting director James Scully accused two other notable casting directors of forcing 150 models to wait for an audition in an unlit staircase for hours. Scully called them ‘sadistic and cruel’, stating they were ‘serial abusers’.

There is also a huge concern that these unhealthy images are promoting the idea of unhealthily thin bodies to the public, leading to eating disorders.

Models like Victoire Dauxerre and Erin Heatherton have spoken out about the unhealthy thinness they were expected to showcase, which they attempted to do by over-exercising and under-eating.

A Brighter Future in Fashion

With the rise of social media, the fashion industry will now struggle to keep the ill-treatment of their models a secret. Models and industry workers are able to speak out about what they see and experience.

Hopefully, this means that the industry will continue to make changes that are better for the health and wellbeing not only of their models but for fashion industry fans, too.