The editors of all nineteen international editions of Vogue have forged a pact, called the Health Initiative, to use healthy models in their magazines. Their most concrete efforts are focused on banning the use of models who suffer from eating disorders or are younger than 16 years of age, but the pledge also encourages model mentorship programs and reasonable working hours. A model’s health can be a sticky subject full of gray areas, so the agreement is broken down into six bullet points. Here they are, courtesy of a press release from Condé Nast International.
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 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 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 encourages the use of extremely thin models.
6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.
Many of these rules seem vague (and what, exactly, are the consequences for breaking them?), but like most efforts to encourage healthy models in the fashion industry, this initiative is a step in the right direction. All of the international editions will kick off this effort in their June issues with special editorials dedicated to the initiative (with the exception of Japanese Vogue, which will publish its editorial for July).