The editors of all 19 editions of Vogue around the world have pledged to use only healthy models no younger than 16 on their editorial pages in an attempt to shift the fashion industry’s approach to body image.
Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue’s flagship US edition, and Emmanuelle Alt of Paris Vogue – which caused an uproar in 2010 with a photo spread featuring a 10-year-old girl – are among those who agreed to the pact.
“Vogue believes that good health is beautiful,” said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast International and a scion of the New York publishing family that privately owns the world’s most influential fashion title.
“Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of their readers,” Mr Newhouse added ::::
In a six-point pact to appear in their respective June issues, the editors pledge to not to knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or with those “who appear to have an eating disorder”.
“We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help us to promote a healthy body image,” they said.
The editors will also instruct modelling agencies not to send them underage models, require casting directors to check models’ ID prior to photo shoots and encourage “healthy backstage working conditions”.
Fashion designers, meanwhile, will be encouraged – though not obliged – to “consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample (dress) sizes … which encourages the use of extremely thin models.”
“We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image,” the pact concludes.
Editor of Vogue Australia Kirstie Clements says the issue of positive body image in the fashion industry is an important one.
“As an editor, I have to make choices on a daily basis about the images we feature and the messages we are sending,” she wrote in this month’s editorial.
“Long ago we made the decision not to feature models that were younger than 16, and we have always strived to present models that we knew to be healthy. But I know there are contradictions. Who is naturally slim? Who is dieting sensibly or irresponsibly? Who is exercising or over-exercising?
“We’ve been known to retouch shots, especially from the runway, to put weight on the girls, which obviously begs the question, why are they so thin in the first place?”
The Model Alliance says it welcomes Vogue’s “impressive lead” and hopes other magazines will follow suit.
“The use of underaged models is linked to financial exploitation, eating disorders, interrupted schooling, and contributes to models’ overall lack of empowerment in the workplace,” it said in a statement. “We simply believe that 14 is too young to be working in this very grown-up industry, and we’re glad that Conde Nast International is making this commitment.”
LINKS: Model Alliance | Vogue