Kering, the global luxury group that owns major fashion houses such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent, announced Wednesday that it will soon no longer hire models under 18 for fashion shows or photo shoots.
The change will go into effect in 2020, starting with the fall/winter 2020/2021 shows, which begin next February.
“As a global luxury group, we are conscious of the influence exerted on younger generations in particular by the images produced by our Houses. 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,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a press release.
Kering’s announcement comes a couple of years after the company, along with fellow luxury group LVMH, published a charter on models’ well-being and working relations. The commitments listed in the charter included working with models with valid medical certificates, not casting models under a certain size and requiring models to be at least 16 years of age. The charter also promised to give models the option to make “direct” complaints regarding disputes with agencies, casting directors or specific brands.
Models’ rights and working conditions have long been a topic of debate in the fashion industry. Just recently, Vogue published a series of short documentary-style videos in which models candidly discussed the industry’s power dynamics and shed light on the discrimination and abuse they’ve faced. Activist groups like Model Alliance and Model Mafia have also emerged in recent years to fight for everything from equal rights to safe working conditions and ethical practices in all aspects of the fashion industry.