Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 09:30 am est

NY labor law shakes up model industry

Posted on February 13, 2014 | by Se Won Park

Christopher Minafo for WSN

The fashion industry is constantly undergoing changes. From the stylistic trends to the different popular color schemes that change seasonally, what is fashionable is temporary.

However, what is also transforming is how the fashion industry is being represented, specifically pertaining to who is presenting the designers’ creations. In previous years, the majority of models were in their 20s. Now, many models are starting their modeling careers in their early teens.

The fact that designers want younger models to showcase their clothes reflects the alteration in the standard of beauty and relates to the market for underage models that are involved with the fashion industry.

Child labor laws were enforced upon models who participated in this year’s New York Fashion Week for the first time. Part of these laws required young models, now defined as “child performers” by law, to work less hours.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that categorizes models under 18 as child models. Due to this, underage models will now be under the Department of Labor, which will set new guidelines, including a mandatory 12 hour break in between work shifts, a midnight curfew on weekdays and other strict regulations.

Because designers are constantly searching for younger models for their smaller body measurements, this could trigger deeper controversy on the topic of beauty. As models are required to uphold the standards of being youthful and skinny, they contribute to the skewed perception that the public has on the idea of beauty.

The new law brought much dispute to the industry. While some thought using models despite their young age was unreasonable, others believe that the designers should lean towards using older, adult models.

Marc Jacobs is well-known for his persistent use of young girls, some only 14, in his shows, and has publicly stated that hiring underage models is not problematic because their parents give consent. Only time will tell if Jacobs will change his mind on using younger models due to the many restrictions and procedures in hiring them.

Regardless of whether designers are willing to hire young models for NYFW shows, the mandatory protection of such underage females sheds light on the continual portrayal of youth as the standard of beauty.

Se Won Park is a contributing writer. Email her at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.