Underage & Underweight Need Not Apply

Last week, Vogue publicly committed to ensuring the health and safety of their models by vowing not to employ models under the age of 16 or with visible signs of an eating disorder.  This commitment is being held by 19 global issues of Vogue including the American, Japanese and British editions.

After last year’s controversy, in which 10 year old model Thylane Loubry Blondeau posed provocatively in French Vogue, there was a global outcry for Vogue to modify their magazine to better reflect their reader. As a global standard for fashion and beauty, Vogue finally felt the responsibility to end the over-sexualization of young girls and glorification of eating disorders by the media.

10 year old model, Thylane Loubry Blondeau, poses for French Vogue

Vogue‘s commitment now includes hiring models who promote a healthy body image and requiring casting agents to check IDs in order to reduce the risk of hiring underage models.  They will start a mentorship program between older and younger models.  Vogue will also be working to better conditions for models by insisting there be healthy food options backstage, more privacy and shorter working hours. Lastly, Vogue will be encouraging their designers to use more realistic sample sizes.

Famous plus-size songstress, Adele, graces the cover of American Vogue

While there is unanimous agreement that Vogue‘s newest edicts are a step in the right direction, many wonder why it took them so long and if they are doing enough to shake this problem.  In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America voluntarily enforced age minimums and health standards during New York Fashion Week.  The same was seen at London Fashion Week where designers signed contracts stating they would only use models 16 or older.  In Italy and Spain, fashion shows no longer employ models under a certain Body Mass Index.  And in Israel, an anti-skinny model law has been passed.  As well, many magazines and brands (such as Jacob) have committed to using more realistic models over the past few years.

Models themselves have also spoken out about unrealistic standards in the fashion business.  Most recently, Canadian model, Coco Rocha, spoke against Elle Brazil for retouching her cover shot.  In the May 2012 cover, Rocha appears to be nude under a barely-there sheer dress.  Rocha reveals she actually wore a body suit and that she has a strict no partial nudity clause that was obviously violated.

Coco Rocha’s retouched cover for Elle Brazil in which she appears naked under her dress

Coco Rocha also gave a statement upon hearing the news of Vogue‘s new commitment.  “Not every model appears in Vogue, but every model and every magazine looks up to them as the standard. I can only imagine this will be a solid step in a direction that will ben­efit models for generations to come.” 

Another vocal supporter of realistic fashion ideals is supermodel Tyra Banks.  After famously gaining weight and declaring herself a “fiercely real” model, Banks redid her Sports Illustrated cover to proudly display her fuller figure.  Banks has continued to support healthy body images in fashion by celebrating plus-size models on her show America’s Next Top Model and creating a website to recognize the diversity of beauty: http://www.typef.com.

Tyra Banks’ original Sports Illustrated cover shot and her revision of the cover 10 years later

Tyra Banks also spoke out about Vogue‘s new amendment.  Her thoughts can be seen in this CNN interview.

American, French, Chinese and British Vogue will be following the new age and weight appropriate guidelines beginning with their June issues.  Japanese Vogue is due to follow in its July issue. 

Follow me on Twitter @RianaAutumn

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