When I first read the article and saw the photo, I was unmoved. So, she’s ten. She’s the daughter of a model. I don’t see anything wholly untoward about the photo – unless you count socks with sandals as a fashion crime.
Reading through the comments it seems that the furore surrounds her pose, the airbrushing and the fact she should be in the sandpit, rather than the shooting studio.
Perhaps I have become immune to the fashion world and its clichéd downfalls – super skinny models, unrealistic body images, airbrushed faces and bodies. It doesn’t interest me, it’s not my currency and apart from occasionally wishing I was model worthy as a teenage girl, it is not really something I aspired to.
My kids weren’t hit with the ugly stick but they aren’t modelling material either, so the world of modelling, particularly child models, is completely foreign to me. As my eldest is only eight, and a boy, I can’t relate to the anger about this image. I’m not sure what is appropriate for a ten year old girl to be wearing and judging by some of the interesting fashion pieces shuffling around the shopping centres these holidays, I can’t say what Kaia Crawford is wearing is that far from the mark. Admittedly, she looks infinitely more gorgeous in the natural shot walking with her mum, where she actually looks like a normal ten year old kid.
Is it sexualisation of young children? Or is it human coathangers to sell clothes? I figure if she is exposed to this potentially harmful industry in terms of body image and self confidence, then she has the best guide: a mother who survived and conquered it all and seems to have emerged as a half decent human being. Well, that’s what the tabloids have us believe.
Far more interesting to me than the-daughter-of-a-model-becoming-a-child-model, is a young girl named Tavi Gevinson aka The Style Rookie who decided to start a blog about fashion. She was 11 at the time, and simply documented her style observations and shared her brave fashion combinations, in an incredibly articulate way, which reflected someone beyond her years. She is quirky. She is original and she is honest. She’s not afraid to be awkward or adventurous. I admire that she is sharing her experiences of growing up through her blog – all the angst and the adverse parts of being a teen. I imagine for a teenage girl, that Style Rookie is much more relatable than the Crawford Clan.
Interviewed by TeenVogue back in 2008, when she was just 12, she was asked:
Who inspires your wardrobe?
Tavi: Right now, my wardrobe is hugely inspired by tons of other bloggers. The ones that inspire me have individual style, and what's especially inspiring about their dress choices is that they wear what they want with confidence, regardless of trends, rude anonymous remarks, or silly fashion "rules".
Now, that’s one savvy, smart, switched-on child who I would be more than happy for my daughter to look up to. The Young Versace fashion line can become a crumpled page at the bottom of a magazine pile at the doctor’s office for all I care.
What do you think about child models and the fashion industry aimed at our children?