Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There's no other store - for anyone over 18 - like David Jones

the david jones summmer 2008 show invitation

In what could be a first for Australian fashion, David Jones has banned under-18 models from its upcoming Summer 2008 showcase. That’s what model agents, and David Jones’ own fashion director Kelvin Harries told The Adelaide Advertiser yesterday, during Adelaide castings for DJs' big August 5 show which is coming up in Sydney.

Model agencies were obliged to provide written confirmation that models were over 18 and the models themselves asked to bring ID to the castings.

Harries is quoted as saying:
“Eighteen to 35 is the target audience and (we) need girls to reflect that”.

One unnamed industry source is quoted as saying that it’s the first time they can recall an under-18 ban.

It’s certainly the first occasion that I can think of. And it seems bizarre, given the big hoo-haa David Jones has made in recent years over the multimillion dollar upgrade of its youth-focussed first floor, not to mention the appointment of numerous “Youth Ambassadors” as young as 15, including Abbey Lee Kershaw and Samantha Harris.

The move follows hot on the heels of a spate of 2008 underage modelling controversies.

Firstly, the babymodel brouhaha at Australian Fashion Week which erupted after organiser IMG announced it would bring out Polish model Monika Jagaciak as the face of the event.

Initially there was no controversy at all, even after The Sunday Telegraph published a sexed-up image of Jagaciak: in full makeup, with lips parted and reclining on a spa bath, her white swimsuit moistened by shower jets. The shot was a PR handout from IMG.

On my Fully Chic blog, I subsequently pointed out that Jagaciak had been 13 at the time the image was taken. The blog erupted.

Vogue - which had used a 15 year-old girl on its cover in 2007 – then cancelled its cover shoot with Jagaciak. Two days later all under-16 models were banned from the event altogether.

In early May David Jones dropped legal action against the Australia Institute, over the latter’s 2006 paper Corporate Paedophilia: Sexualisation of Children in Australia. The Institute had accused several large local retailers, including David Jones, of exploiting children in marketing material.

Later that month, Australian photographer Bill Henson became embroiled in a child pornography scandal over images of naked teenagers in an exhibition at Sydney’s Rosyln Oxley 9.

The Henson obscenity investigation was dropped, however the child porn debate erupted again earlier this month when Art Australia used an image of a naked five year old girl on its cover in protest over the Henson debacle.

This week federal arts minister Peter Garrett proposed the establishment of a set of protocols for the artistic depiction of children.

Miranda Kerr features on David Jones' Summer 2008 show invitation (pictured above^) and she will of course be front and centre at the August 5 show.

The irony of a ban on under-18s will presumably not be lost on her.

In 1997, Kerr won the Dolly Magazine/Impulse Model Competition and was flown to Sydney to shoot for the magazine one week before her 14th birthday – prompting an outcry from the Australian media over the sexualisation of children.

Could the real issue here be that, in the challenging economic climate of 2008 – which has seen David Jones lose almost half its market value – cash-strapped young women have simply stopped buying David Jones’ clothes?

Irrespective of who is, or who is not, buying, frockwriter hears that David Jones may be dramatically cutting its show budget this season - by cancelling the regular touring fashion showcase.

Traditionally, once the big Sydney and Melbourne presentations have taken place, an entire month of dozens of smaller shows then roll out across the David Jones flagships in almost every state. Shows run several times a day, over several days, in each store.

This year, the Sydney show on August 5, followed by one in Melbourne the following week, are it.


Dataceptionist said...

here here I say! (or is it hear hear?)
I'm a beleiver in the idea that change has to start with the biggest names, or it will never be fully implemented.
Well done DJ's.

And I think you're right, DJ's is simply too expensive, and their designer gear is taking over anything affordable. PLUS why would you ever buy full retail when you can wait for the mid year sales when the entire store is on Sale Racks for three months?

Maxie said...

even so, there are a lot of school-aged girls maxing out daddy's credit card at DJs, especially at Bondi Junction.
I'm continaully amazed at the number of young girls i see in clothes i can barely afford as a 28 year old full-time professional.

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