Should the high fashion world be reserved for adults alone? Vogue thinks so and we tend to agree with their point of view.
Over the years, the face of the fashion industry has become a young to mid teen with their slim physiques and innocent expressions.
A norm that has begun to be challenged by fashion councils and top companies who feel that these young children should not be walking the catwalks for top names or featuring in high fashion campaigns.
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Average Age of Catwalk Models
Many runway models are discovered in their teens at the age of 14 and 15 years old. It’s nothing new. Kate Moss and American model Cindy Crawford were both scouted in their teens and between them have modelled for the likes of Prada, Stella McCartney, Versace, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu.
Some teens will grace the catwalk for the first time whilst still at high school. However, many feel that these teens are too young and should be 16 or over before they make their runway debut.
However, is 16 years old too young to be working in an adults world with high pressure to deal with. The fashion industry favours the waif-like physique that only a teen can maintain at a cost to their health. Yet, should all catwalk and high fashion editorial models be 18 or older as Vogue has recently committed to?
Is 16 Too Young to Model in the High Fashion Industry?
In the past Vogue has joined in creating an industry reliant on teens to model designs sold to women. However, looking to the future they want to change the image of the fashion world using models over 18 years old. Last year, they declared that all models must be aged 18 to take part in an editorial shoot. It makes sense. Right?
Women can’t relate to teenage girls. How can they? They’re worlds apart having already experienced teenage life and enjoying adulthood. Therefore, seeing young girls with heavy makeup model clothes aimed at an older demographic is simply bizarre. They will never achieve the look of a tall, waif-like, skinny teen in their thirties, forties and beyond.
Are Teens Safe?
The fear goes beyond the notion that women don’t feel reflected. The safety of these young models is a much more worrying issue. Travelling to London, New York, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, with a manic, jam-packed schedule to adhere to, pressure to keep to their tiny measurements and working with new people again and again, will definitely have an affect once the novelty wears off. At first New York City will be extremely exciting to work in yet with little money, no friends or family around and long hours it will start to feel very different.
The reality of working life will hit, it’s not so glamorous. A high level of maturity is needed to deal with these pressures and stresses that cannot be expected of as a teen. They end up getting exploited and taken advantage of due to their naivety, vulnerability and innocence. Sexual harassment is a reality that a 14-18 year old will not be able to deal with. They will feel too intimidated to speak out and voice their feelings.
With 40/50 models to cast for each show the demand is high for young people with the ‘perfect’ body image. That’s a lot of teens to find on the same budget as hiring half that amount over a decade ago. A lot of the money reserved for hiring fashion models will be used to pay for the social media stars who dominate the fashion industry. We’re talking the Gigi Hadid and Kendal Jenner’s of the world. With the launch of the internet making fashion shows accessible for everyone the demand is high to find the amount of models time and time again. The age of models started to get younger and younger.
Protect Your Child
There is a place for child and teen models in the modelling industry. One that is not so hard hitting. A place where kids and adolescents can thrive gaining confidence in a more friendly, relaxed environment. The commercial world is much more age appropriate with young girls and boys laughing, smiling and generally having fun.
The roles can fit around their education commitments and although these modelling jobs should be taken seriously, child models can get a taster as to what the industry is like without the pressures of the high fashion world. If they wish to pursue this avenue they can with confidence at 18 years old.
Those aged under 18 should always be chaperoned by their parents or legal guardian. Therefore, you can have a say over your child’s career and safety at all times. If you are not comfortable with your son or daughter working for a specific fashion designer or brand at such a young age do not agree to the shoot or show.
Best Age to Start Modelling
There is no perfect age to start modelling as there are opportunities at all ages – even newborns. It all depends on the how the child (when they are old enough to understand what they like and don’t like) feels and whether they enjoy being in front of a camera and centre of attention.
There are many benefits of starting modelling at a young age outside of the high fashion industry. When it is seen as a starting point of gaining experience and finding out if modelling is for you, a hobby even, it can have lots of advantages.
Meeting new people, posing in front of a camera and seeing their photos will build confidence in a young person – especially with their parents by their side. It can be a daunting, new world for youngsters but with reassurance from their mum or dad they will begin to feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable.
Trying out a photoshoot at a young age will allow for teens to see if they like the world of modelling or not. Some thrive in the photoshoot environment, which could lead to many fantastic opportunities and a successful career later in life.
At this age they are just having fun yet it gives them a head start when they wish to take modelling more seriously or even expand to an actress/actor on a BBC TV Show for example. It has been known of before.
Explore New Places
Whether this is a train to London or a flight to Europe, along with your parents you can enjoy a new city and quality time with your mum or dad. Once the modelling commitments are finished you can visit all the tourist spots in the city.
Learn New Skills
There are many new skills that you will naturally learn as a model. These are just a few important techniques that you will develop that are useful in everyday life.
- Great posture.
- Communication skill.
- Taking direction.
- Arriving on time.
- Dealing with rejection.