Models are getting younger and younger, that’s no secret but should it be aloud and do they get exploited because of their age? This year the CFDA (Council Of Fashion Designers Of America) told participants in NY Fashion week that models under 16 were largely frowned upon. However regardless of this Marc Jacobs was one designer that went against the grain and hired them anyway.
What is even stranger that Marc Jacobs ignoring the rules set out by the CFDA is that he recently became a member of the board himself meaning this has done nothing to further implement the rules to other designers.
Marc Jacob defended himself, saying ’There are children actors and children models for catalogs and stuff, so I guess if a parent thinks it’s O.K. and a kid wants to do it, it’s fine.’
While the child performers Jacobs mentions are exempt from mainstream labor laws, rules and guidelines do lay out acceptable working practices. Many such rules limit the hours children and teens can work, either during a day or just at one time; during Fashion Week specifically, the CFDA’s guidelines suggest models under the age of 18 are not kept working past midnight. Which is petty tough come the hectic Fashion Week scheduling and run overs.
17 year old Hailey Hasbrook is a young and up and up and coming model that has a Tumblr she updates regularly. This was her first Fashion Week and she worked late hours. In her first season at New York Fashion Week, 17-year-old Hailey Hasbrook told WWD she worked long past midnight as a “looks model” (better known as a fit model) for Jacobs on two consecutive occasions — with 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. ending times, respectively. Jezebel found more details of the grueling schedule on her Tumblr. On her first night with Jacobs and his team, Hasbrook worked a 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift, two hours past the CFDA’s “curfew.” After an 11 a.m. casting the following morning, Jacobs called her in again. Writes Hasbrook:
‘Sunday was a VERY hectic and LOOOOONGG day… It started with a casting for Rodarte at 11:00 in the morning.
Then, I had MORE looks for Marc Jacobs. The SCHEDULED time was Noon-4:30. They ended up keeping me until 6:00, though, causing me to have to switch around my schedule and cancel some things…I get a call from my agency saying Marc wants me BACK to do more looks. They told him that I would do it but I had to have an early night because I had shows early the next morning. They told me that I shouldn’t be there any later than 10:30. Well, 10:30 rolls around and I ask Shawn if he knows when I will be ready to leave. Only to find out that they have me booked open-ended. Meaning that they had no specific end time for me. After a couple phone calls, they decided on 2:00 am.
Well, 2:00 rolls around … I hadn’t been trying things on for a while so we all thought I would be good to go. I go and start to get dressed only to be called for in the other room by Marc. I didn’t end up leaving until around 4:30 in morning.’
Not only are young models increasingly expected to work longer and loger hours but they are often not paid either, receiving clothing in some cases instead. This is another problem surrounding young girls as they often are not represented correctly for their work in shows.
For the Paris shows French Labor Laws make it illegal not to pay models in catwalks.
Marc Jacobs, seeing this story on the website Jezebel Tweeted a response :
‘Models are paid in trade. If they don’t want to work w/us, they don’t have to.’
It’s a pretty unfair argument for girls that work very very hard to keep designers happy and are trying to forge a career in modelling.
One things for sure, it’s highly likely that Marc won’t be using Hailey Hasbrook again and that she will have a firm talking to about what she puts on her blog in the futre. Which is a shame because these things should come to light if they are going on.
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