Sadie Sink, who debuted on Season 2 of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things,” hit the runway at Paris Fashion Week. But at 15, she flouted fashion industry guidelines that ban underage models from walking runways in major shows.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), a leading industry trade group, issued guidelines in 2013 advising designers not to use models on the runways under the age of 16.
The group also urged designers not to use models under the age of 18 past midnight at fittings or photo shoots.
The guidelines, however, are only voluntary, and have been widely flouted on the runways of New York, Paris and Milan. She joins a list of celebs who have appeared in fashion shows before turning 16.
Ivanka Trump hit the runway as a 15-year-old in 1997. Kaia Gerber, daughter of former supermodel Cindy Crawford, made her pro fashion debut tow years ago at age 10, causing a major uproar.
Actress Gemma Ward, and supermodels Karlie Kloss, Linsay Wixon abd Daphne Groeneveld all began pro careers at 15.
Among celebs, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and Sistine Stallone, daughter of actor Sylvester Stallone also started at 15.
Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of actor Johnny Depp raised eyebrows in April a year ago when she appeared on the red carpet at Chanel’s 2014/15 Metiers d’Art Collection show in New York. She was 15 at the time.
Other models were even younger. Ondria Hardin walked in Marc Jacobs’ fall/winter 2012 show at 14, flouting CFDA guidelines. Hot new European model Sofia Mechetner also hit the runways at 14.
Mason Grammer, the 14-year-old daughter of Camille and Kelsey Grammer, caused an uproar when she walked in the Malan Breton show at New York Fashion Week just this past year.
Sink, who will turn 16 in April, walked three times for fashion brand Undercover in Paris, including the show’s opening and closing. Both are prestige spots usually reserved for celebs or big-name models. She also was signed to by Takahashi to walk in Paris.
Late last year, she signed with Miu Miu and appeared in a campaign for Nike, according to W magazine.
Model advocates say celebrities are sending the wrong signal to other young teen models, not to mention undermining fashion industry efforts to curb the use of underage models on runways and in adult fashion magazines
Sara Ziff, founder of Model Alliance, a group working on behalf of models, explained the situation this way:
“When most people think of models, they think of supermodels who command large sums, but most working models are not supermodels. Most begin their careers as children, and work in debt to their modeling agencies. The pervasive practice of pay in ‘trade’ contributes to models’ disempowerment in the workplace. Without adequate safeguards, child models often stand to be exploited by adults who do not have their best interests in mind. A unified national floor of standards would protect child performers wherever they engage in work across the country.”
James Scully, a top fashion casting director explained the problem to BuzzFeed in 2013:
“With the advent of the internet, and the opening of Eastern European and Russian borders, the age level of the average model dropped from 18 to 15. That’s basically a girl who has not hit puberty and by the time she hits it, people would accuse her of getting fat — and this was caused by the revolving door of Calvin, Prada, and Balenciaga exclusives that got out of control. Age and weight go hand in hand, and I personally have a problem with asking a teenage girl to do a woman’s work.”
Check out a clip from Sink’s Paris show. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest fashion news.