Vogue editors team up to ban underage and underweight models

Filed under: Interviews

Vogue editors team up to ban underage and underweight modelsVogue editors including Anna Wintour have teamed up to combat model health issues. Photo: PA

Vogue is using its June editions across 19 countries to launch a new model health initiative. The Condé Nast title has outlined a six-point pact aimed at promoting healthy body image and a better work environment for the models it uses in photoshoots.

The Health Initiative, which is supported by Alexandra Shulman on behalf of British Vogue, Anna Wintour for the US iteration and Emmanuelle Alt for Paris, vows to continue the work begun by the British Fashion Council and the Council of Fashion Designers of America in terms of promoting healthy body image within the industry.

The June editor's letter explains: "Fashion is an inspiring and creative force, and fashion models are also role models for many women. Because of this, it is important that we do all we can to ensure that they are well cared for and educated in the ways that will encourage and help them take care of themselves."

Vogue editors team up to ban underage and underweight modelsThe Vogue editors previously collaborated on Tokyo's Fashion's Night Out following the devastating Japanese tsunami in 2011. Photo: Getty

Condé's international chairman, Jonathan Newhouse adds: "Vogue believes that good health is beautiful. 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."

So what does the pact actually entail?

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 programmes 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 CFDA 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 agents 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 encourage the use of extremely thin models.

6. We will be vocal ambassadors for the message of healthy body image, both within the magazine and outside.

Anna Wintour - US
Alexandra Shulman - UK
Franca Sozzani - Italy
Emmanuelle Alt - France
Christiane Arp - Germany
Yolanda Sacristan - Spain
Kirstie Clements - Australia
Daniela Falcao - Brazil
Angelica Cheung - China
Elena Makri - Greece
Priya Tanna - India
MitsukoWatanabe - Japan
Myung Hee Lee - Korea
Kelly Talamas - Mexico
Karin Swerink - The Netherlands
Paula Mateus - Portugal
Victoria Davydova - Russia
Sky Wu - Taiwan
Seda Domanic - Turkey


From that bullet point list you can tell that the fashion industry is complicated beast - the sample sizes for shoots come from the designers, the models are provided by agencies, the backstage conditions are the responsibility of the producers, the designer, the venue... and media is a part within the larger machine, but, crucially, we're hoping this interweaving ALSO means that where Vogue, the BFC and the CDFA are leading, others will have to follow.

Congrats Vogue, Team MyDaily is doffing its collective cap to you :)