Friday, May 4, 2012

Wake Up Call

The modelling industry has at long-last gotten the kind of shake-up that it needed in the guise of the recently forged Health Initiative Pact. In an industry that is predominantly populated by teenagers and young adults barely shy of their teens, Vogue Magazine's recently announced Health Initiative Pact has been long overdue. The Health Initiative has been endorsed by the editors of all nineteen international editions of Vogue and consists of six key initiatives with the focus on promoting the use of healthy models in their magazines. The pledge endeavours to ban the use of models under the age of sixteen and those suffering from eating disorders, and to foster more supportive work environments/conditions through model mentorship programs and reasonable work hours.

Bridget Hall, Brandi Quinones & Niki Taylor
US Vogue - April 1994
Photographer - Herb Ritts
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Condé Naste International issued a press release outlining the Health Initiative's six key bullet points.

1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models, who in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.

2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.

3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.

4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting directors not to keep models unreasonably late.

5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.

6. We will be ambassadors to the healthy body image.

The international editions of Vogue will collectively promote the Health Initiative with special editorials dedicated to the pledge which will be featured in the June issues of the fashion bible. Whilst it remains to be seen how the outlines will be enforced and the consequences (if any) for those not following suit, the initiative is a positive step in the right direction for an industry which up until now has been largely unregulated.

Aaron Vernon, Thairine Garcia, Ethan James,
Sojourner Morrell, Chrystal Copeland & Lyle Lodwick
Vogue Italia -  April 2012
Photographer - Steven Meisel
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Kate King, Anais Pouliot & Ming Xi
Russian Vogue - February 2012
Photographer - Patrick Demarchelier
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Romee Strijd, Ymre Stiekema & Josefien Rodermans
Vogue Netherlands - April 2012
Photographer - Marc de Groot
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Malgosia Bela, Carmen Kass, Ana Claudia Michels,
Frankie Rayder & Angela Lindvall
British Vogue - January 2001
Photographer - Mario Testino
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