New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs hires underage models for catwalk show
Marc Jacobs is the latest to enter the underage models debate as he hired two 14 year-olds to walk in his autumn/winter 2012 show, which is against industry guidelines.
Pre-New York Fashion Week, chairman of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Diane von Furstenberg, released an exhaustive list of guidelines aimed at keeping models fit. Supplying healthy meals on fittings, professional help for those struggling with eating disorders and checking IDs to ensure models are over 16 pre-shows were just some of the items on the modelling check list. But it seems this last one has already been forgotten.
Less than two weeks after the list was released, top designer Marc Jacobs has sent two underage models down his autumn/winter 2012 catwalk on Monday, February 13.
Brazilian model Thairina Garcia and star of the winter 2011 Prada campaign, Ondira Hardin, both took to the catwalk despite the fact that they are both, reportedly, 14 years-old.
Far from being apologetic, Jacobs has defended his choice of models, insisting that the CFDA's Health Initiative cannot influence his shows: "I do the show the way I think it should be and not the way somebody tells me it should be," he told the New York Times .
"If their parents are willing to let them do a show, I don't see any reason that it should be me who tells them that they can't," he continued. "There are children actors and children models for catalogues and stuff, so I guess if a parent thinks it's ok and a kid wants to do it, it's fine."
The comments are the latest in a debate that began when a group of female MPs, led by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, announced that they wanted young models to have similar rights to child actors and actresses, namely chaperones to take them to shoots and shows.