This Federal Bill May FINALLY Give Underage Models the Protection They Need

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The use of underage models in fashion - who are often as young as 14 or 15 years old - has been a hotly debated issue for some time now. However, Grace Meng, a New York congresswoman, may be about to finally present the industry with a solution.

The congresswoman recently introduced a bill, called the Child Performers Protection Act, into the House of Representatives that would extend workplace safety regulations to performers under the age of 16 - including some of our favorite catwalkers. There are currently federal regulations in place for child employees, but performers such as young actors, singers and, yes, models are often exempt under the current national law. While some states which are home to large entertainment industries, like New York and California, have their own laws, there is no federal standard - yet.

According to The New York Times, the potential law would set limits on working hours and salary requirements, meaning designers wouldn't be able to pay their models in clothes anymore. (Because, yes, while free designer duds sound amazing, they don't pay the bills!)

The bill comes at a time when many organizations such as Model Alliance and the Council of Fashion Designers of America have already been working toward improved protections for some of the fashion industry's youngest employees - who just seem to be getting younger.

After the recent controversies surrounding 14-year-old Israeli model Sofia Mechetner closing Dior's couture show and Cindy Crawford's 13-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber appearing in a spread for CR Fashion Book, the Child Performers Protection Act could not be coming at a better time.

While uber-famous supermodels like Karlie Kloss or Kendall Jenner often come to mind when we hear the word "model," most of the girls we see on the catwalk at Fashion Week aren't making nearly as much - and what they do make, they often need to use to support themselves or their families.

It's likely that we could be waiting a while before the bill officially ends up as a law, but we're hoping this is the step in the right direction that the fashion industry needs!

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