Kering Commits to Working With Models Over 18 Only

Global luxury group Kering announced yesterday that it will no longer hire models under the age of 18 for its fashion shoots, photo sessions, and print campaigns. The French conglomerate owns several of the world’s A-list luxury brands, including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Balenciaga—along with storied jewelry and watch houses Pomellato, Girard-Perregaux, and Boucheron.

The new rule will go into effect for 2020; on the runways we’ll see the change during the fall-winter 2020/2021 shows.

“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 François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering in a prepared statement released yesterday. “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.”

Kering and LVMH, the world’s other major luxury fashion conglomerate, jointly drew up a “charter” in 2017 to put in place more stringent rules meant to protect the well-being of models. In it, the companies introduced a minimum working age of 16 for models.

The new guideline, which comes only from Kering, mandates that legal adults only work as models for the group’s brands.

It’s an important step for the larger fashion industry, which—much like Hollywood—has been exposed by the #MeToo movement as an industry prone to normalizing abusive and exploitative behaviors, especially when those behaviors are at the hands of its superstars (i.e.,  photographers Terry Richardson and Mario Testino, who have been accused of abuse).

“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,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering in the same statement. “We are also aware of the role-model element that images produced by our houses can represent for certain groups of people.”

The September 2017 charter drawn up by LVMH and Kering also included the banning of the longtime casting requirement sizes of 32 for women and size 34 for men; the option for models to make a direct complaint in the case of a dispute with a model agency, casting director, or brand; and the introduction of numerous advances in working conditions, such as access to a reserved area where models can change clothes conveniently.

Top: A Gucci print ad for spring 2019 (image courtesy of Gucci)

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