Vogue Magazine Editors Unite For ‘The Health Initiative’

When I buy Vogue UK, after the anticipation and wonder about the glossy book of promise has subsided slightly, I start to flick through it. Back to front. Then front to back. I take in all the adverts, I love adverts, I’m a sucker for them. I analyse the styling and then begin dreaming again. And then I read it. Page to page. Every single little bit of it. In June’s edition of Vogue UK, the Editor’s Letter (P 41 & p44, separated by adverts of course) is themed around the Olympic Games. The whole edition celebrates sport, style & shape and features some incredible photographs by some incredible photographers of incredible British atheletes. Going back to the Editors Letter, the reason for the letter being over two pages is because of the important new Vogue initiative, which drew my attention.

“As one of the fashion industry’s most powerful voices, Vogue has a unique opportunity to engage with relevant issues where we feel we can make a difference. This month, we announce The Health Initiative, a pact between the international editors of Vogue, now published in 19 countries, to build on the successful work that the Council of Fashion Designers or America Health Initiative in the US and the British Fashion Council in the UK have already started, to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry.

Fashion is an inspiring and creative force, and fashion models are also role models for many women. Because of this, it is important that we do all we can to ensure that they are well cared for and educated in ways that will encourage and help them to take care of themselves. We also recognise that there are many different types of body which are healthy – thinness itself is not an indication of ill-health, and obesity is also a pressing issue. This programme aims to address as many of the issues as we realistically can.

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 ID’s when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.

3. We will help to structure mentoring programmes where more mature models are able to give advise and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the CFDA 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 vocal ambassadors for the message of healthy body image, both within the magazine and outside.”

After I read this, I was impressed by the commitment by this bold statement. This statement is a necessity, and it was inevitable that such an agreement would be published. If we believe what we read, these global editors are taking responsibility and control with this agreement by putting it in print. It’s not just Vogue who are vocal about health and wellbeing within the second biggest employer within Britain, that being the fashion industry – the British Fashion Council also has their ‘Model Programme’ which makes a contractual agreement with designers since the report of the Model Health Enquiry.

As Vogue’s statement states, fashion is inspiring, exciting and deserves to be celebrated in all its glory. With these influential people and organisations uniting for exactly the same reasons, it can be an even more exciting, enjoyable and promising place to be, with the safety and duty of care of everyone involved.

Read more here – The Health Initiative on Vogue.co.uk

Images via British Vogue.

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