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At designer Marc Jacobs’ show in New York Monday, two of the models looked too young to be on the runway. Indeed, both of them turned out to be under the age of 16, against the recommendation of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, of which Jacobs is actually a member.
According to The Huffington Post, it was just last month that the CFDA revised its health guidelines in an attempt to stop eating disorders and it recommends that models be at least 16 years old. However, The New York Times began questioning the age of two of Jacobs’ models at his Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show.
The New York Times reported that, until Jacobs, it seemed like all of the designers followed the recommendations. However, after the show, Jacobs told the Times that he clearly did not care for what the CFDA says. “I do the show the way I think it should be and not the way somebody tells me it should be...If their parents are willing to let them do a show, I don’t see any reason that it should be me who tells them that they can’t,” he told the Times.
New York Magazine reports that the two models who are most likely under 16 are Thairine Garcia of Brazil and Ondria Hardin of North Carolina. Hardin had actually modeled for Jacobs in September when she was just 14. Both models are represented by the Ford Models agency, which has also refused to follow the CFDA recommendations. “We take the age and maturity of our models very seriously. We work on a case-by-case basis alongside a prospective model’s parents to make a determination as to whether they are ready to walk the runway,” the agency said in a statement to New York Magazine.
Even though Jacobs is a member of the CFDA, he cannot be punished in some way for going against the recommendation. CFDA chief executive Steven Kolb stressed to the Times in an e-mail that these are just recommendations. “They are not mandatory requirements. Each season we hope designers will follow them but it is really up to the designers to decide,” Kolb said.