Model Hailey Clauson parents sue over Urban Outfitters over 'racy' photos

This photo of Hailey Clauson, then 15, shows her carrying a six-pack of beer. Her parents claim it has been used without permission on t-shirts.

Urban Outfitters and other retailers are being sued for the unauthorized use of photos of a young model that her parents deemed risqué.

According to the New York Post, the pictures of Hailey Clauson were taken by photographer Jason Lee Parry in March 2010, when she was 15 years old. According to the lawsuit by Clauson’s parents, Ford Models, her agency at the time, complained about their suggestive nature and Parry agreed to never release the photos. But somehow one image of Clauson straddling a motorcycle in leather hot pants has appeared on a t-shirt at Urban Outfitters. Other images from the photo shoot have popped up on tees at a Los Angeles boutique called Blood Is The New Black and a NYC store called Brandy & Melville. The suit says the shirts “force” Clauson “to be the object of prurient interests and provides wallpaper for the likes of pedophiles,” according to the New York Post. Now Clauson’s parents are suing all three retailers and the photographer for a total of $28 million in damages.

Some of Clauson’s photos may raise eyebrows—in addition to a shot that focuses on her crotch, there is also a picture of the then-15-year-old carrying a six-pack of beer, and one of her wearing an open leather jacket with nothing underneath. But one must wonder why Clauson posed for the provocative shots in the first place. Sometimes photographers push young models beyond their comfort zone, but Parry claims her parents were present at the photo shoot and gave him permission to publish the pictures. Parry told the Post, “The images got stole (sic) from me” and showed up on t-shirts after they were accessible on numerous blogs.

Related: French Vogue’s questionable use of child models.

Fashion photography has been known to over-sexualize young women. Some brands, such as American Apparel, often come under fire for their suggestive photos, but when models sign release forms they often waive rights to legally complain.

And there’s another questionable element to this story. Earlier this year, Hailey Clauson walked in Diane von Furstenberg’s show at age 15, even though the Council of Fashion Designers of America guidelines state that no models under the age of 16 should be hired. Furstenberg herself is the CFDA president, and while she apologized for not verifying Clauson’s age on her ID, we wonder why Clauson’s parents agreed to let the underage teen walk the runway. After turning 16, Clauson has walked other runway shows for designers like Gucci, Elie Saab, and Giambattista Valli.



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Categories: Fashion

Author:Tamisha Monet

Fashion Editor ( Tamisha Monet calls Oakland home as a Bay Area native but resides in Houston. She's a staff writer for The Rouge Collection magazine, in their Beauty and Style department. She is the art contributor for the West Coast division of F.A.M.E. The Experience magazine. In the blogosphere, she’s worked with Vogue, Lexus, True Religion and more. She works as a Business Life Coach for various fashion and beauty start-ups through her company iStyle Fashion and Beauty Society.


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