Vogue Violates Its Health Initiative, Yet Again

Underage model Julie Borawska was featured in Vogue Mexico. (Photo by Barrel Fashion)Vogue is under fire for featuring underage model, 15-year-old Julie Borawska, in the November issue of Vogue Mexico (click here for photos). In recent years, key industry influencers like the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have imposed certain rules and health initiatives to protect young models working under unusual conditions and typically without parental supervision. Such rules insure runway models are at least 16 years of age, have plenty of healthy accessible food and drinks, work reasonable hours (models under 18 are not permitted to work past midnight), and are granted sufficient periods of rest. Vogue's health initiative, launched in June 2012, said "We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16," and "We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns." Interesting wording there. According to Fashionista.com, Vogue has already violated this rule three times, claiming an oversight.

The first incident came in August 2012 when 15-year-old Ondria Hardin appeared in Vogue China. At the time, the magazine's editor in chief, Angelica Cheung, and Condé Nast International's chairman and chief executive, Jonathan Newhouse, apologized for the careless mistake, saying they were taking the matter very seriously, and would take great care to prevent similar incidents down the line. But just one month later, 15-year-old model Sarah Kees was featured in Vogue Italia's September 2012 issue. Apparently, 14-year-old model Thairine Garcia was also used for a Vogue Japan photo shoot in 2012, but her fashion spread wasn't published. This brings us to the latest incident in the November 2013 issue of Vogue Mexico.

Fashionista.com reached out to Vogue Mexico and Latinoamérica editor in chief, Kelly Talamas, who said the magazine "did not cast any models for this shoot, and was not involved in any manner with the production." The shoot was reportedly outsourced from photographer Kevin Sinclair, and they are investigating exactly how 15-year-old Borawska was cast. Fashionista.com also reached out to Sinclair, who said, "I am aware of the age restrictions with Condé Nast. I was not aware the model was 15 years of age. When we communicated with her agency, in Poland, they never mentioned that she was so young. We were all under the impression that she was 18 years or older, not 15."

The fact of the matter is Borawska's age is not difficult to find. As the fashion blog points out, it's printed on her personal Instagram, Fashion Model Directory profile, and Gaga Models, her Polish agency website. If Vogue took the time to create such important initiatives, you'd think someone at one of their publications would spend a few minutes researching their models to verify they are all of age. Here's to hoping they'll really take the matter seriously after three strikes.

Related links:
Vogue Bans Underage Models, Calls for Healthy Fashion Reform. At Last.
Coco Rocha Explains Why the New Underage Model Law Will Revolutionize the Fashion World
Kate Winslet is Incredibly Photoshopped on New Vogue Cover