Designers presenting at New York Fashion Week are being advised strongly to card models in an effort to comply with the CFDA‘s recommended age limit, which says girls under 16 shouldn’t walk in major shows. So within the next week, a bunch of 15-year-old models are going to be on the hunt for fake IDs.
In a letter posted on the CFDA’s website, President Diane von Furstenberg and CEO Steven Kolb announced that they’ve taken steps to actually enforce their health guidelines. Last season, when von Furstenberg merely suggested that no models under 16 be allowed on the catwalk, she ended up horrified that then-15-year-old Hailey Clauson ended up in her show anyway. (Clauson, if you’ll remember, also caused controversy last week when she was embroiled in a lawsuit over some slightly adult pictures she took.)
In our continuing quest to protect the models that we work with, we have updated the CFDA Health Initiative guidelines to recommend that models be asked for i.d. to ensure that they are at least 16 years old on the day of a show. The casting agents for the Diane von Furstenberg show will be doing this and we encourage others to do the same.
Kolb and von Furstenberg have received pledges from some of New York’s top modeling agencies that they won’t send models under 16 on go sees for Fashion Week presentations, but that doesn’t mean work-hungry young things and the agencies that wrangle them won’t find a way around the new guidelines. It’s depressingly easy to get a fake ID, or to just lie about your age, which designer Michael Kors pointed out in his much-lauded Interview Q&A with actress Lauren Hutton.
I said two years ago, “No models under 16.” Well, of course, right after I said that, we started seeing all of these girls from Eastern Europe, and every girl who’d walk in, you’d say, “Hi. What’s your name?” And she’d be like, “I’m Svetlana.” I’m like, “Svetlana, where are you from?” “Ukraine.” “Svetlana, how old are you?” “16.” Next girl walks in—she’s from Eastern Europe and 16. Next one? Eastern European and 16. I was like, “Was there a bus?”
Joking aside, we hope designers will do everything they can to help make sure really young models stay off the runway. And just to be safe, we hope that includes really fancy up-to-date ID card scanners.