How young is too young?
The Christian Dior fashion label is facing some major heat these days after announcing that 14-year-old Israeli modeling newcomer, Sofia Mechetner, as the new face of their brand.
The fresh-faced model’s first gig was last spring, when she opened Dior’s fall/winter show. And you’ll never believe how she was discovered…
The Dior designer himself, Raf Simons, discovered Mechetner when they just happened to be in the same Dior store. It really is about being in the right place at the right time!
This change of pace has turned the Israel native’s whole life around. Coming from a town outside of Tel Aviv, she lived in an apartment with her mother, sharing a room with her two other siblings while her mother worked three jobs. Now, she’s enetered the fashion world, and that came with a brand new Dior contract worth over $200,000.
Everything is looking great for the newcomer! So where’s the controversy?
Well, Dior is known for being a very adult brand, and during Sofia debut at the fall/winter show, she wore a long sheer dress, which understandably sparked major controversy when people learned just how old the model is.
People everywhere are saying that Mechetner is way too young to be a high fashion model, a job that is known for involving different forms of nudity.
Despite all of the uproar, Dior still has the models face on its website homepage.
Lately, the fashion world has been taking measures to protect young girls in the industry. Models like Karlie Kloss and Kate Moss have spoken about their experiences starting too young in the modeling world. Vogue no longer uses models under the age of 16 and New York recently passed a law, enforcing stricter age guidelines for runway models. Of course, there are loopholes to get around them.
Many critics say that Mechetner does not meet the guidelines set by The Council of Fashion Designers of America.
“In 2007, CFDA established its Health Initiative which strongly recommends that designers do not use models under the age of 16,” the CFDA said in a statement. “The CFDA communicated this message to its members prior to the spring and fall castings, and there has been great acceptance of these guidelines. We also support the New York State Legislature law stating that all models under 18 must be treated as child performers.”
Supermodel Carol Alt told Fox News that she doesn’t think it’s safe to have underage models in the fashion industry.
“It’s not a safe business. Even at 18 my mother was worried about me,” she said. “At 20, I was worried about me.”
Daily Front Row magazine editor, Peter Davis, weighed in on the issue, saying that the use of underage models is an old tale and won’t change as long as our “youth-obsessed” society encourages it.
“There are plenty of beautiful girls who are legal to vote and drink and sell gazillion dollar hand bags. But we live in a youth-obsessed world where fashion takes obsessions to the extreme,” David said. “Brooke Shields was the original child model in the ‘80s and nothing has changed, and never will. We sexualized a 14-year-old Brooke Shields and the fashion world will continue to churn out pre-pubescent models.”
Despite the large amount of controversy surrounding the issue of underage models, it doesn’t appear that Dior will be getting rid of their new face anytime soon. But, hopefully, they will tread carefully and we won’t see the young girl in anything too adult anytime soon.