Is the fashion industry finally catching up with other creative industries? New legislation signed off on Monday is set to increase protections for young models and restrict the use of teenagers on runways at New York Fashion Week.
The new law, which is expected to take effect in 30 days from Monday, will recognize fashion models under the age of 18 as child performers, giving them the same rights as singers, actors and musicians who are under 18.
This will no doubt impact the casting of models for the next New York Fashion Week in February.
It's hoped that there will be less confusion around younger models, like Ondria Hardin (pictured), who is believed to have been 14 or 15 years old when she walked for Marc Jacobs' Fall 2012 show.
“We might actually have the novel experience of having grown women modelling women’s clothes at New York Fashion Week,” said Susan Scafidi, a board member of The Model Alliance advocacy group and the academic director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University. It's expected that the new regulations will encourage designers to favor older models, because the legislation requires employers to provide carers for young models, and restricts how long, how late and how often they can work.
Scafidi added that “the easiest way to avoid fees, paperwork, monitoring and potential penalties is simply to use models 18 and over—and to ask the agencies and casting directors with whom you work to assist you in checking models’ ages.” Sounds sensible to us; let's just hope that the rest of the major fashion cities follow suit, and soon.