25/09/2014 07:30 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Is This 14-Year-Old Model Too Young For The Catwalk?


Dutch model Roos Abels has caused a stir on the catwalk - because she's only 14 years old.

According to the Telegraph, the schoolgirl raised eyebrows when she strutted down the runaway at the Milan Fashion Show, modelling Miuccia Prada's new designs.

The decision to include the teenager has reignited the debate about what age models should be to take part in these events.

Interestingly, there has been no such controversy about Romeo Beckham modelling Burberry clothes for its Christmas range last week - despite the fact he's just 12 years old.

Is this because he's male, or because he took part in a photoshoot, rather than a catwalk?

In London there are no specific rules for model ages at Fashion Week, but all members of the Association Of Model Agents have agreed not to use models under 16 years for these catwalk shows.

At present, there is no law in place to prevent designers from casting models under the age of 16 at Milan Fashion Week, but in 2011, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) put a ban on any models under the age of 16 appearing on the catwalk at Fashion Week shows.

The guidelines were taken so seriously that models showing up to walk the runways were often asked to bring ID to prove they were of working age.

In an open letter to the fashion industry in 2011, CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg summed up the argument for only using models over the age of 16 in catwalk shows.

She said: "The industry's hiring of prepubescent-appearing teenage girls as models of adult clothing sets an unrealistic standard; hips and breasts, the curves that define the female figure, are absent.

"Some models have difficulty maintaining the body ideal as they move into adulthood and run the risk of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors that lead to eating disorders."

Prada has a long history of using young models and is responsible for kick-starting the careers of several unknown teens after casting them.

The actress Hailee Steinfeld appeared in a Miu Miu campaign aged just 14 back in 2011. American model Lyndsey Wixon was photographed when she was just 15, and Kelly Mittendorf, Antonia Wesseloh, and Ondria Hardin were all 16 when they modelled for the Prada 2011 AW adverts.

But since those days, several rules have been implemented in the fashion industry to prevent young models being used.

What do you think?

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