Dutch schoolgirl takes Prada catwalk by storm, but is she too young?

Questions are being asked about the inclusion of a 14-year-old Dutch schoolgirl in the recent Prada fashion show in Milan, with critics saying her appearance undermines efforts to stop young girls being exploited.

Roos Abels, from Purmerend north of Amsterdam, appeared on the catwalk for both Prada and minor label Giamba and is already being heralded as a star of the future.

‘Keep your eye out for Miuccia Prada’s newest muse,’ wrote influential blog Fashionista.com.

But her appearance has been described as ‘child labour’ by some and going against efforts by the industry to protect younger girls.



In 2011, for example, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) put a ban on any models under the age of 16 appearing on the catwalk at Fashion Week shows and the Association of Model Agents in England has made a similar commitment.

Abels’ Italian agency Brave Models, said they do not consider it a problem ‘if the girl has permission from her parents and her school’. The show itself lasted just 15 minutes and hair and make-up took 90, director Bruno Pauletta told the Volkskrant.


‘You can summarise the controversy about hiring underage models by comparing Roos’ Instagram and her Brave Models Milan test shots,’ writes blog Fashionstyle.com.

‘Roos’ Instagram profile photo shows her looking like a normal 14-year-old, making a goofy face in a park while wearing a pink T-shirt. However, her modeling test shots, via The Fashion Spot, show her topless, in full makeup.’


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