ORGANISERS of Fiji Fashion Week have hit back at critics of the show's model of the year Kelly Ann Harman.
FJFW received criticism after 14-year-old Yat Sen Secondary School student Ms Harman was awarded the top model gong last week.
Fiji Fashion Week managing director Ellen Whippy-Knight said though FJFW did not have an age limit for models, parental consent was sought before allowing young models to walk the runway.
"We sought permission from her parents and all the parents of the young models involved in the show before they were allowed to be a part of FJFW," Mrs Whippy-Knight said.
"We even got permission from the school principals, asking for time off to allow them to attend rehearsals and the final show.
"We absolutely do not condone young models taking part in the competition without the consent of their parents," she said.
And Mrs Whippy-Knight said the chance to be a part of FJFW was opening up different career paths for the young women.
"This event teaches girls confidence, self respect, and also shows them what this business is all about — fashion is a multimillion-dollar industry around the world," she said.
"And we also realise these girls have the right to pursue whatever career they want to," she said.
FJFW public relations officer Lice Rova said the show was conscious of local sensitivities and allowed the girls to change an outfit if they were uncomfortable wearing it.