Youths on the runway

Fashion has always been criticized for its use of stick-thin supermodels with possibly unhealthy 
eating habits.

Now, many people are realizing runways are showcasing girls, not women, to display their fancy 
new frocks.

Many sites oohed and awed over the closing act of Dior’s haute couture show in Paris earlier this month. Sofia Mechetner, dubbed an “ethereal beauty” by many, finished the runway show wearing a gauzy nightgown dress with Victorian undertones and experienced a “Cinderella” moment. Sofia is 14 years old.

I was wearing Abercrombie cutoffs and being driven to PG-13 movies by my mom when I was her age. Name me one 14-year-old who can buy Dior haute couture, and I’ll buy you a mansion. The bottom line is I believe adults should model adult clothing.

Sofia grew up in a town outside Tel Aviv, Israel, in total poverty. She signed with a modeling agency in her home country, which then tried to connect her with a Parisian agency.

Sofia and her chaperone — because she needs one, and probably a bedtime — were rightfully shut down by the agency because she was too young for the runway.

As chance would have it, Sofia (Cinderella) and her chaperon went browsing in a Dior store where they were introduced to Dior’s creative director, Raf Simons (Fairy Godfather?). The rest of the fairytale is history.

I am in no way harboring a grudge against Sofia, because she clearly has talent. It’s simply an interesting strategy, using girls to sell clothing meant to be worn by women.

Many bright young faces have landed in high fashion ads this month. Lily-Rose Depp, a 16-year-old budding actress and model, is now the new face of Chanel’s eyewear campaign. Thirteen-year-old Kaia Gerber has landed a spread in CR Fashion Book’s 
September issue.

Both these girls have famous parents. Lily-Rose calls Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis Dad and Mom, and Kaia has Cindy Crawford to tuck her into bed.

American supermodel Karlie Kloss was discovered at 14 years of age as well. Ironically, Karlie just announced the launch of her YouTube channel Tuesday.

In her channel’s trailer, she explains her modeling career quickly overwhelmed her childhood; she completely uprooted where she lived, what she learned and who she was 
before modeling.

While she was modeling, she realized she had other desires as well, like launching her baking career, learning how to code and 
attending college.

Many of these girls are dropping their true aspirations merely because they have a pretty face, a tall stature or celebrity parents to gain them recognition.

The thing about models is they are sexual in nature. Many people in this country do not follow high fashion, and the closest thing they get to a runway show are the Victoria Secret Angels who grace our television screens every December.

No matter how many chaperones or adult figures these girls are sheltered by, they are becoming sex objects simply due to caked on makeup and high heels.

The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman explains these adolescents are modeling at “a distorted physical time when girls have the bodies of children but the height of an adult.”

Many forget perfection can be manipulated. Maybe it’s time for runways to start picking on somebody their own age.

This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 23 July 2015.


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