Credit: Pixabay

The fashion world domination of nepo-babies

By Hannah Gribbon

Who needs good jeans when you’ve got good genes?

What makes the ideal model? Long legs? A pretty face? Famous parents? Recently the latter has seemingly become one of the most important criteria for getting your face onto the cover of Vogue. Indeed, many of the top models of this generation have famous parents: Kaia Gerber, The Hadid Sisters, Lily Rose Depp, Kendell Jenner, just to name a few. Interestingly, Jenner is the highest earning model in the world, being paid an estimated $1m per runway show. However, whilst these models might have the fame and the money, that does not mean they are free from criticism.

It is often commented that, although these models inherited their name and fame from their famous parents, their well-known faces are not entirely the product of “good” genes. There has been a significant rise in plastic surgery over the past few decades, on average 15 million Americans get plastic surgery each year and many of the supermodels of this generation contribute towards that number. Take Bella Hadid, who famously got a nose job at the age of fourteen, a procedure that sparked a lot of controversy due to her age. Hadid has recently shared that she regrets the procedure, stating, “I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors” (Hadid has Palestinian Ancestry). This comment is just one of many that demonstrates the negative impact that the use of plastic surgery for perceived perfection can have on those who partake.

These models are criticised for creating unnatural beauty standards, but where do these standards come from? Dislike for your body is not purely innate. The wealth of criticism against nepotism models often stems around the idea that they are not pretty enough to be models, especially when compared to their “self-made” peers and parents. In the case of Lily Moss (daughter of Kate Moss) and Kaia Gerber (daughter of Cindy Crawford), critics find issues with their height with Lila and Lily, 5ft 6in and 5ft 2in respectively, are both believed to be too short for the runway. If it isn’t their height, it’s criticisms of their beauty, with models such as Gigi Hadid being criticised for their “plainness”, lacking in that “something” to make her unique enough to qualify for high fashion.

The criticism appears to go in two different directions. Either you are not pretty enough, and the public criticise you for even daring to consider yourself a model or you make the changes to your body via plastic surgery and people criticise you for not being natural. The problem with “natural beauty” does not stem from plastic surgery but rather from the standards of the fashion industry, it is rather hypocritical to criticise Hadid for her surgery whilst supporting the brands that made her believe she needed the procedure.

One model who has embraced her individuality is the daughter of 90s supermodel Kate Moss. Lila Moss has type one diabetes, something that she does not hide, as demonstrated with the public display of her diabetes monitor on her leg during a recent Versace show. This has drawn approval from many nurses and parents of children with type one diabetes. One YouTube user, a nurse, commented, “This diabetes nurse approves! I have so many young people who despise showing any form of technology. This is really empowering.” Although the claims that she would not be on the runway if it was not for her mother could be true as she does not fit the apparent “requirements” , the fact that she is on the runway and taking the opportunity to show and display her assistive health technology, marks a step forward in the fashion world, one which might not have been taken if it was not for her family connections that Lila has.

It is fair to say that these nepo-babies have had advantages in their careers that did not come from their own hard work. They have, in most cases, done what they felt they had to in order to prove themselves worthy. Often, plastic surgery is one of these things. It is clear that the models did not create these unhealthy beauty standards but rather they have in many cases been forced to conform to the standards set by the industry. Nepotism allows for the introduction of those who do not fit the standards, although this does not lead to more equality within the high fashion world, it does allow for more diversity in term of who is considered for the runway, these models, Lila Moss and Lily Rose Depp are the start of what I believe will be a change in the high fashion world, which will hopefully lead to less demand for plastic surgery, a long journey but one which nepo-babies can help with.


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