It seems as if critical eyes have been firmly planted on the fashion world, with magazines constantly reassuring the public that they aren't using unhealthy or underage models. Now British Vogue has spearheaded a new level of supervision for the style industry, signing a 10-point code for regulating models' working conditions. The code has been put forward by Equity, a UK trade union for professional performers.
As the first glossy to agree to Equity's code of conduct, British Vogue has ensured that models they hire will work no more than 10 hours a day, be provided with meals and adequate bathroom facilities, receive prompt payment and be informed of any nudity or semi-nudity before the shoot takes place.
Each of the 10 points were written by members of the union's models committee in direct response to their treatment in the fashion industry. Take this code for example: "In the event that a Model is required to work semi nude or in very thin summer wear material the temperature will be no less than 73 degrees Fahrenheit." We can think of one model (ahem, Kate Upton) who would be very grateful for this rule.
In addition, the code prevents employers from working with girls under 16, cutting a model's hair without her consent and asking models to do any "activity which is dangerous, degrading, unprofessional or demeaning." British Vogue's move to sign the agreement is certainly promising, but this news is conjuring up memories of Vogue's Health Initiative, an agreement signed by all of Vogue's international editions last year that promised not to work with "models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder." This accord proved hard to enforce and was subsequently broken.
Moral of the story? It's up to individual magazines and editors to police their own castings and photo shoots in order to ensure that working conditions are up to par for models. We hope British Vogue's latest attempt sticks.
Do you think other fashion mags will take Equity's code to heart and put it to the test?
Check out some fashion people who are making a difference:
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