Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen are among the fashion brands which have pledged to stop using models who are under the age of 18.
The French luxury fashion group Kering, which owns the brands, announced they would stop hiring under-18 models to represent adults for both catwalk shows and advertising campaigns.
“We are conscious of the influence exerted on younger generations in particular by the images produced by our houses,” Kering’s chairman and chief executive Francois-Henri Pinault said in a statement.
“We believe that we have a responsibility to put forward the best possible practices in the luxury sector and hope to create a movement that will encourage others to follow.”
The policy will come into effect early next year, in time for the 2020-2021 autumn/winter collections.
“The physiological and psychological maturity of models aged over 18 seems more appropriate to the rhythm and demands involved in this profession,” added the group’s chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu.
Condé Nast, which publishes Vogue magazine, made a similar declaration in September last year. It vowed to stop using under-18 models in editorial shoots unless they were the subject of an article.
“Vogue, along with a number of other publications, has played a role in making it routine for children – since that’s what they are – to be dressed and marketed as glamorous adults,” it announced in an editorial
“No more: It’s not right for us, it’s not right for our readers, and it’s not right for the young models competing to appear in these pages. While we can’t rewrite the past, we can commit to a better future.
“Promising teens will continue to be signed, no doubt, but agencies will need to invest more time and resources in their models’ development, particularly as they adapt to the demands of video and social media.”
A 14-year-old Brooke Shields notoriously appeared on the cover of the magazine’s February 1980 issue, and again the following year, when she was 15.
Founder of the campaign group Model Alliance, Sara Ziff, described Kering’s decision as “a positive step towards eliminating the intense pressure models currently face to maintain an adolescent physique and to go to extremes to lose weight”.
However, speaking to BBC News, she also warned that that it lacks a “mechanism for actual enforcement” and that she fears the pledge could “amount to little more than lip service to critical issues that have plagued the industry for far too long”.
In 2017, Kering published a charter introducing a minimum age of 16 for models representing adults. In conjunction with its competitor LVMH — owner of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy — the group also stopped casting female models smaller than a UK size four and male models below a size six.