Too thin is no longer in: Vogue vows to ban underweight and underage models
15:05 GMT, 4 May 2012
Vogue has vowed to ban underweight and underage models from the pages of its magazines.
Alexandra Shulman, at the helm of the British edition, is among 19 other editors to have joined the pact, in a bid to stop the promotion of unrealistic body images.
Going forward casting directors employed by the title will be asked to check IDs of models before booking them and flag up those who appear to have eating disorders.
American, French, Chinese and British are among the editions of Vogue that will start following the new guidelines with their June issues
It is hoped the 'The Health Initiative' will encourage a healthier approach to body image within the fashion industry.
The project builds on the guidelines already drawn out by Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council with the support of Vogue magazines in both countries.
Alexandra Shulman said at a lunch hosted by the Wellbeing of Women – a charity dedicated to improving the health of women: 'Vogue has started The Health Initiative.
'We are working with 19 of the
magazine’s international editors – and models agencies – encouraging
them to use healthy models. We will continue to do so.'
Alexandra Shulman says British Vogue will continue to promote the use of healthy models
Models' health – and especially their weight – has come under greater scrutiny over recent years, especially following the death of two models from apparent complications from eating disorders in 2006-07.
However until now the focus, has been on catwalk fashion shows, where minimum age requirements and improved backstage conditions have been enforced in numerous countries.
American model Sara Ziff, who was discovered at
14 and has since founded The Model Alliance, dedicated to improving the
working conditions of models, hopes the move will encourage other publications to get on board.
'Most editions of Vogue regularly
hire models who are minors, so for Vogue to commit to no longer using
models under the age of 16 marks an evolution in the industry,' she
'We hope other magazines and fashion brands will follow Vogue's impressive lead.'
American, French, Chinese and British editions will start following the new guidelines with their June issues – the Japanese edition will begin with its July book.
Ziff said the age restriction is important for other reasons too, adding: 'The use of underaged models is linked to financial exploitation, eating disorders, interrupted schooling, and contributes to models' overall lack of empowerment in the workplace.
'We simply believe that 14 is too young to be working in this very grown-up industry.'
In addition to agreeing not to knowingly work with models under 16 or with eating disorders, the Vogue pact says the magazines will help 'structure mentoring programs' for younger models and raise awareness of the problem of model health.
The publisher of Vogue, Conde Nast, is also responsible for several other magazines, including Glamour and Allure, but a spokesperson said there are no current plans for these guidelines to be adopted across the company.