If you are under the age of 18, you are considered a “child” model and are required to follow stricter laws when you do model. Just this past year, if you model in the state of New York, you are now considered a “child performer” with even stricter laws. They include specifying how many hours you can work, how often, and how late a child model can work. Depending on the number of hours, this may also mean hiring tutors and educators for the models they do hire. It may also mean creating a “trust” account that the model is paid through. This is important because previous to this year, most models in a line up on the runway for any particular designer would consist of 55-70% child models. This year, that has changed. There are very few high fashion designers using child models, less than 1%. This law was passed a year ago primarily with support from Model Alliance, often considered a watchdog group for models in general and one of the few modeling unions.
What has this done in general? First, since there are now legal hurdles to having child models work for the designer, they have moved their models up to the 18-24 year old range, creating more work for these models. A second impact is that there are fewer escorts being seen – underage models often have one of their parents or a legal guardian accompany them. Now that most of the models are of age, they are no longer required to have escorts and the number of people have dropped who are escorting models. And, finally, many of the child models who are now of age have spoken out that there is a LOT of pressure for children who are models.
This doesn’t mean there will be an end to child models, but rather, there will be more laws passed across the US and in other countries to reduce the number of child models who are out there working.
Edit: This is what was proposed but haven’t verified that this is what was actually passed into law and can be found at this PDF link, http://cfda.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Guide-to-Pending-New-York-Law-on-Models-Under-Age-18.pdf.