MODEL LAW: It’s about to get a little more complicated for fashion brands hoping to use models under the age of 18 during New York Fashion Week. Both houses of the New York State legislature late Wednesday passed new labor laws aimed at protecting child models.
The legislation, which essentially affords underage models the same protection as other child performers, will be presented to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be signed in the next few weeks. When signed, employers such as fashion brands, fashion publications and advertisers must abide by a host of regulations, including adhering to restricted work hours that require breaks and meals.
This story first appeared in the June 14, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Models won’t be able to work past midnight on school nights and they won’t be able to return to work less than 12 hours after they have left.
That will likely pose a problem during fashion week, noted Susan Scafidi, academic director of Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute. “It will be crazy difficult,” she said, adding that fashion houses had better apply for permits now if they are hoping to use models under 18 on runways come September.
The law will also provide that models are allotted study time, tutors and a space for instruction. If a model is under 16, a “responsible person” must be designated to monitor the activity and safety of the minor, according to the legislation.
Additionally, 15 percent of the child model’s earnings must be transferred into a separate, restricted bank account, which must be set up by the model’s parent or guardian. If the law is broken, the employer will be fined $1,000 for the first violation, and that total will increase by $1,000 for every subsequent violation.
Scafidi underscored that the “biggest” impact that this law may have is that older models may now get more work. “And that wouldn’t be a bad thing,” she said. “Models careers are very short.”