Marc Jacobs Flaunts Underage Girls At NYC Fashion Week, Says Parents Are ‘Willing’

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met ball 020511When the Model Alliance addressed the issue of underage girls working in the fashion industry, many listened. Reportedly many designers at New York Fashion Week have complied with the Council of Fashion Designers of America guidelines and have not allowed girls under 16 to walk. Yet Mr. Lolita advocate himself and open fetishizer of youth, Marc Jacobs, dismissed the urgings by the CFDA and hired two young ladies in their early teens to walk in his designs.

When pressed by The New York Times why he had allowed Thairine Garcia and Ondria Hardin, reported to be 14 or 15 years of age, at the show, he said that he won’t be bothered with concern for underage girls:

“I do the show the way I think it should be, and not the way somebody tells me it should be,” Mr. Jacobs said. “If their parents are willing to let them do a show, I don’t see any reason that it should be me who tells them that they can’t.”

As a designer in one of the most cutthroat and seedy industries in the world, Marc Jacobs sure doesn’t tout himself as any ambassador to children’s well-being. And given how he openly described literature’s rape victim Lolita as “seductive,” Marc clearly isn’t aware of the problematic depictions of girls and their sexuality that permeate most media.

Yet, his assertion that parents are solely responsible for girls and their health suggests that he is somehow not complicit in permitting girls into an industry known for abusing them. Washing his hands of the matter simply because mom and dad have consented may tidy up the legal end of things. But to suggest that he is not accountable for inducting very young girls into a notorious terrain of sexual exploitation fundamentally ignores his influence as a top designer and a brand.

Having people in the fashion industry who take responsibility for the power of their policies does in fact make an impact. When top model Karlie Kloss‘s pained Vogue Italia photo started popping up on thinspiration websites, editor Franca Sozzani who is dedicated to battling pro-eating disorder websites, had the online photo pulled. The move was applauded by the National Eating Disorders Association, as the publication acknowledged the influence of such an image on other young girls.

Marc Jacobs may be more comfortable blaming parents for their daughters’ troubles on the runway — and they are certainly not immune to judgement for their parenting choices. But, his personal role in exploiting young girls cannot go ignored, regardless of whose consent he obtains.

(photo: WENN)