One thing was clear from the runways at New York Fashion Week: the models appear to be a little older. As you may recall, this past October, thanks to the efforts of NYC’s Model Alliance and local government, the State of New York passed legislation that designated models younger than 18 as child performers, affording them protection like children in the entertainment industry. For these models, special arrangements are required, and according to the New York Times, for designers who want to use an underage model, the law has created a logistical challenge.
An recent article by the New York Times sheds light on the shift towards older models (aka those aged 18 and older): “’It’s a big change,’ said James Scully, a casting director whose clients include Jason Wu, Derek Lam and Tom Ford. The majority of models Mr. Scully used to see before the current shows were younger than 18. ‘This year, I saw over 350 girls, and I only saw 3 that were under 18,’ he said. ‘A lot of these girls were really ranging between 20 and 24 years old, and I didn’t find the aesthetic looked any different from when they were 15. So it does prove that this can be done.'”
Designer Carolina Herrera, who is in favor of the newly-enacted law and did not use girls under age 18 in her F/W 2014 show, which took place at Lincoln Center, shared some insight: “Years ago we had girls that used to come with their mother. They were 14 or 15. I remember one Russian girl who used to come with her mother and a Polish girl who used to come with their father because they were so young.”
Lastly, big-name model, Lindsey Wixson, 19, who appears in Chanel’s most recent ad campaign, started her modeling career at 15 when she opened Miu Miu’s F/W 2010 show in March 2010 and subsequently appeared in the brand’s ad campaign. Wixson supports the law, as well. She told the NY Times: “I think it’s needed. I started at a really young age, but I think it’s good to keep it at 18 and above. For some girls, it’s a little too much pressure.”