Specifically, the company and worldwide fashion leader has agreed to “not unknowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder.” And in addition, they’re also establishing a mentoring program for younger models, and encouraging designers to make clothes a more realistic size as to encourage models to be at a healthier weight.
In a statement issued by Conde Nast, the publisher’s International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse said, “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 well-being of their readers.”
This was exciting news for Sara Ziff, a model discovered as a teen who has since founded the Model Alliance – an organization dedicated to improving the working conditions of models and persuading the industry to better care for its young models.
Of the announcement she said, “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 said. “We hope other magazines and fashion brands will follow Vogue’s impressive lead.”
Although the changes will take effect almost immediately, with American, French, Chinese and British editions of the magazine to start following the new guidelines as early as their June issues; the Japanese edition will begin adhering to the new standards in July.
Other efforts have been made recently to ensure models are healthy and staying away from eating disorders. One such example is in Italy and Spain where most major fashion leaders have banned runway models that fall below a certain body mass index (BMI) level. And another in Isreal, an ‘anti-skinny’ law was passed that holds models to a minimum BMI of 18.5.
Elissa J. Brown, a psychology professor at St. John University, believes this is a change that could truly impact the way our culture – and youth - perceives beauty and health.
“We know that there is an impact for young girls…of what is put in front of them in terms of media,” she said. “I’m a mother and I hear other mothers talk about the parts of their bodies they don’t like in front of their daughters instead of talking about health. If these message becomes about health, it could have a tremendous impact.”
This is a huge step in the right direction, not only for the modeling and fashion industries, but also for our culture as a whole. And we congratulate Conde Nast and Vogue Magazine for the positive changes they’ve made. After all, the more we portray being healthy as truly beautiful, the more likely it’s to stick.
May 4th, 2012