Gucci And Saint Laurent Parent Company Bans Models Under 18

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 8 months ago | News

Image: Saint Laurent fall-winter 2019 collection. Image source

Kering – the global luxury group behind labels like Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent – has committed to only hiring models over the age of 18 for its brands’ runway shows and photo shoots, effective as of next year. “As a global luxury group, we are conscious of the influence exerted on younger generations in particular by the images produced by our Houses,” said chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault last week. “We believe that we have a responsibility to put forward the best possible practices in the luxury sector and we hope to create a movement that will encourage others to follow suit.”

This move follows on from a charter initiated by the conglomerate and its closest rival LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in September 2017. The charter involved the working relations and well-being of models, with both groups vowing not to use models under the age of 16. The charter further stipulated that models aged 16-18 would be “subject to specific rules” that include limited working hours, and the mandatory presence of a guardian.

“[The existing charter] has already led to progress in the Luxury sector, notably by introducing a minimum age of 16 for models,” said a representative of Kering. But Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering, Marie-Claire Daveu added that “in our view, the physiological and psychological maturity of models aged over 18 seems more appropriate to the rhythm and demands that are involved in this profession. We are also aware of the role-model element that images produced by our Houses can represent for certain groups of people.”

Kering’s latest move serves to one-up LVMH on the wellbeing of the models used by its brands. And the rival group isn’t exactly happy about it. According to Fortune, LVMH “firmly disagrees” with Kering’s decision. “What matters is not so much the age as the conditions under which models work, regardless of age,” said a spokesperson for the group. “LVMH believes that one group banning models of that age will not stop them from working. As such, LVMH believes that it has a responsibility to continue working with 16-18-year-old models and to provide them with a protected environment.”

While Kering hasn't yet specified penalties for violating their new pledge, it is good to see that major conglomerates are starting to rethink the representation of women in fashion and take steps to circumvent the insidious culture of abuse that has become so common in the modelling industry.

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