Unveiled today in British Vogue's June issue is a brand-new Health Initiative, launched across 19 editions of Vogue. The initiative aims to address the problem of unhealthy body image and behaviors amongst models, particularly those who pose for magazines.
The new initiative includes a six-point pledge agreed upon by all 19 Vogue editors-in-chief. According to the Telegraph, these include the following:
* 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.
* We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.
* 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.
As British Vogue notes, the stated goals of the initiative hew closely to those of the CFDA's Health Guidelines, which include a minimum age requirement (16 years) and a commitment to preventing eating disorders through education.
The practical innovation of Vogue's Health Initiative, however, is a focus on magazines rather than the runway. The past efforts of the CFDA (and Britain's British Fashion Council) were only effective to the point of addressing problems during Fashion Week. With Vogue's new move, models working year-round in photo spreads will meet the same requirements -- and get the same help.
It also extends the impact on viewers, as arguably more women read fashion magazines than watch runway shows.
Of course, as long as Photoshop exists, those over-16, non-anorexic models could still be made to look younger and skinnier than they really are. Perhaps a pledge to limit Photoshop, made by Glamour and other magazines, will be next on Vogue's agenda?