Apr 11, 2008
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Australian fashion week dumps 14-year-old model after outcry

Apr 11, 2008

SYDNEY, April 11, 2008 (AFP) - A major Australian fashion event on Friday April 11th scrapped plans to use a 14-year-old model on the Sydney catwalk after an outcry over her age.

Photo : Anoek de Groot/AFP

Australian Fashion Week organisers said "industry and community concern regarding the acceptable age for models" was behind the decision not to hire Monika Jagaciak for the job and enforce an age limit for models.

"Effective immediately, both male and female models participating in Rosemount Australian Fashion Week will need to be at least 16 years of age and must be represented by a model agency," they said in a statement.

Jagaciak, who is Polish, was to have been flown to Australia for the event starting later this month.

The editor of Vogue magazine in Australia, Kristie Clements, said she had been considering Jagaciak for a cover photoshoot until she discovered her age.

"Jak was absolutely a potential for the cover, we were lined up to shoot her, but when I discovered this week that she was 14 I was like, 'Ah, no way,'" she told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that, apart from the issue of sexualisation of very young girls, underage models were often yet to develop women's bodies.

"They want them so thin they have to get them pre-pubescent," she said.

"That is a big disconnect to what you are essentially supposed to be doing (which) is selling clothes to women, and yet you are getting them so young that they haven't even developed a curve."

Australian Fashion Week founder Simon Locke was initially unconvinced about the need for a minimum age requirement for models, something which has been taken up by other fashion cities such as London and Paris in recent years.

"The designers love these models as coat-hangers for their clothes," he told News Limited. "They don't want to exploit their sexuality in any way whatsoever."

But he later reversed his position following national discussion of the issue, which was also raised last year when a 12-year-old Australian girl won a modelling competition.

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