Photo: Katherine Lowe
Murray Crane, who’s a cynical kind of guy, wrote a list of things that would invariably occur during this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week. One thing he mentioned was that there would be the usual plus-size/too-skinny/underage model debacle. Proving him right, last night I was interviewed by Jim Mora for Radio New Zealand about the use of hyper-sexualised underage models. According to the Herald, models as young as 14 have been hitting the runways wearing inappropriate outfits. While this will come as no surprise to anybody who keeps a close eye on industry news, it should not be happening in a market like New Zealand. Auckland’s a small town. There are maybe six stylists who work regularly, they know all the models and all the agents, and they should take responsibility and not allow an underage girl to be presented to the public in age-inappropriate outfits.
For a young teenage girl, modelling must be the most aspirational career path imaginable. What better way to boost the self esteem than to be paid because you look good. So with that in mind, if a respected stylist asks a girl to wear an outfit she might not feel comfortable wearing, she’s not going to say no because she doesn’t want to rock the boat or potentially mess up her gig. New Zealand Fashion Week should impose a 16 year old age limit for girls walking in shows, and stylists should impose an 18 year old age limit for girls wearing sexed up outfits.
In a market as small as Auckland, this kind of thing would not be hard to police. Why doesn’t somebody just make a stand? That way, cynics like Murray Crane would not necessarily have so much hot air with which to fill their sails.
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