(dpa) - Organizers of Australian Fashion Week retreated clumsily down the catwalk Friday after a public outcry over their hiring of 14-year-old Polish girl Monika Jagaciak as the top model for next month's event in Sydney.
The day began with AFW's chief organizer, Simon Lock, taking a stand on the issue of children modelling adult clothes.
"There's been criticism of the industry in the past for promoting the Lolita syndrome, but that's something we will not stand for," he said. "The designers love these models as coat-hangers for their clothes. They don't want to exploit their sexuality in any way whatsoever."
One of Jagaciak's recent modelling assignments saw her under a shower posing in a white swimming costume.
Lock's stand lasted until lunchtime. But rather than announce a change of heart himself, AFW put out a statement on his behalf saying that no models under 16 would be appearing at the event and that Jagaciak could stay at school.
"Polices are constantly revisited and endorsed by the AFW's industry advisory board to ensure the event best served the industry and reflected community attitudes towards issues surrounding the fashion industry," the statement said.
It's the second time AFW has caused a storm. Last year Lock defended his right to send really thin models down the catwalk. He said self-regulation was working and there was no need to ban waifs from working in the industry.