Kering, the parent company that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and more, has announced a new company policy that all models hired must be over the age of 18, effective 2020. The undeveloped bodies of teenage models have long been viewed as aspirational within the fashion industry (creepy!) and this appears to be a step in the right direction towards representation that more accurately reflects the brand’s customer base.
“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,” François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering told WWD. Then, in a bizarrely catty move, LVMH announced they “would not be following suit.” Antoine Arnault, the LVMH’s head of communication and image, said “Let’s not kid ourselves: It’s not because one group bans these models that they will stop working. On the contrary, we provide them with a protected environment, so I am totally against this ban on models aged under 18.” He then cited Kaia Gerber as a reason to continue employing 16-year-old models. Okay, bro.
The move marks a rift in the charter signed by both rival companies in 2017 that was the result of both companies drawing up a charter of industry standards to protect models. At the time, both companies agreed banned the employment of models under the age of 16.