Every year there is a new crop of young, fresh-faced and impressionable adolescents competing for designers’ attention and longing to become the next muse. The media projects the image of young models in a somewhat negative light, often detailing their journey into adulthood whilst in the spotlight as tumultuous and inevitably ending in ruin. The ultimate supermodel, Kate Moss, had her rise to fame at 14 years old; in fact, pretty much all the 90’s top models were discovered before they had even reached for their first legal drink.
Controversially, Kristina Pimenova, a nine year old model from Russia, discovered at only 3 years old, has recently been dubbed by The Daily Mail as the ‘most beautiful girl in the world’, proving that beauty doesn’t seem to have an age. This is further evidenced by Daphne Selfe, who at 84 still regularly features in the glossy pages of Vogue!
Some would argue that this trend for younger models is merely the modelling world saluting science. It’s biologically understood that we are at our peak attractiveness between the ages of eighteen and twenty, so it only makes sense that it is the youngest of girls who find the most success sporting the latest trends. Nowadays a model isn’t just a face, a model is a brand in itself. Agencies scout these young girls and develop them into more than just a clotheshorse that can walk on a runway, with personal brands delving into make-up and own fashion lines.
“The ultimate supermodel, Kate Moss, started her rise to fame at 14 years old; in fact, pretty much all the 90’s top models were discovered before they had even reached for their first legal drink”
Previously, a good walk could secure success while now the young girls must offer the full package and truly live the lives that the brands sell. As a result, the new ‘it-girls’ have lots to say, and are not afraid to say it loudly. I think that this is a great thing for the industry and will aid in squashing the negative connotations associated with models being seen as only able to show clothes. Topshop recently announced that they were taking a step even further out of the fashion box and introducing a totally unknown model as the face of their 2017 campaign.
Lily Jean Harvey, a 17-year-old student from a small town in the English countryside isn’t just a pretty face, and is by no means your average seventeen year old. Not only is she the new face of the leading high-street fashion brand, she has also done various editorials with influential fashion magazines such as i-D and Miss Vogue, and she is full of fresh, bold opinions. Breaking the unfair stereotype of shallow models, Lily has made it very clear that she isn’t afraid to be different. She has a youthful air about her and yet demonstrates her maturity in interviews, recently claiming that Michelle Obama is her inspiration, and that her favourite thing is poetry. We need more young models like her!
Though more young models are entering the fashion world, the focus shouldn’t be on their age, but on what they have to say, whether they are 18 to 80. Done correctly, youth can be used to capture a generation and inspire young girls in a positive way.