Ondria Hardin is the latest fresh faced newcomer model. Her youth is being taken advantage of as well her image is quickly becoming the face of fashion hypocrasy.
The latest news is that she’s been cast for the SS 13 Chanel campaign alongside veteran model Stella Tennant. “She doesn’t look 15,” Lagerfeld told the trade WWD. “She looks 18 or 19.” And that, my friends, is reason enough to use an underage model. It’ll be interesting to see if Vogue accepts advertising money from Chanel and runs the ads regardless. The flip-flop eithics of fashion in Ondria’s case is disturbing.
At 14 she walked the Marc Jacobs show which violated the CFDA’s highly praised Health Initiative. Marc said that it was a creative decision.
Chinese Vogue, who had also publicly announced they wouldn’t show models under the age of 16 in any of their magazines, also made an exception when they decided to use the 15 year old model in their August issue. They later apologized saying her agents lied and said she was 16.
So, what happened? Everyone was all hopped up publicly stating they would protect underage girls from doing a job that is agreed unhealthy for a young psyche. These decisions to ignore the new regulations, coming mere months after the signing, makes me wonder, who is everyone protecting? The model or the money? Most in fashion do their best to protect models. They celebrate beauty and celebrate individuality. So this all confuses me. Marc, Karl, the editors at Vogue, etc… I’ve been in the room with them and they’re not evil people. I believe the system is broken. Perhaps the intention that they system was created on as well.
It seems appropriate for say, dELiAs to use 14 year old teens but when the same teens are used to sell Chanel, Prada and Marc Jacobs, well, not only is it weird, it’s irresponsible. What using young girls for adult advertising does is places the most risk upon those who are the most vulnerable in the economic equation, the models and the women they advertise to. The designer, the editor, the agent and the magazine all get to enjoy the benefits of using such a young face. But what about this girl’s perception and now expectations of herself or what it’s doing to the perception and expectations of many women?