The Chinese agency responsible for a 14-year-old Russian model, who died in Shanghai said on Oct. 31 that there is growing demand worldwide for younger-looking girls in the fashion industry.
Vlada Dzyuba died in hospital on Oct. 27, sparking accusations that she had been overworked and underpaid during a two-month working stint in China that included Shanghai Fashion Week.
Dzyuba’s Chinese agency ESEE Model Management has vehemently denied that the brown-haired teenager, who was to turn 15 on Nov. 8 but died without her family at her side, had been exhausted by a punishing schedule.
But ESSE president Johney Zheng told AFP that Dzyuba was indeed the youngest model his firm had ever represented in its 14 years of operation, and part of an accelerating global trend in the modelling industry.
“Her face looked young because there is a new generation coming so the brands always want that the models can look younger and younger because consumers, in this internet age, are getting younger and younger,” he said.
“Fashion brands are focused on the young consumer that means mostly high school and university students.”
ESEE, which calls itself one of the biggest modelling agencies in China, has provided a copy of a hospital certificate that gave the cause of her death as a type of septicaemia, the invasion of bacteria into the bloodstream.
Shanghai-based ESEE, which has Chinese and international models, male and female, on its books, has come under fire over why a 14-year-old girl was allowed to model in China without her parents present.
The company is working with Chinese authorities and Zheng believes that Dzyuba’s death could even result in a change in Chinese law.