Tuesday, 09 April 2013

British Vogue first to sign 10-point code to protect models

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British Vogue has become the first magazine to sign a code of conduct for models to improve their working conditions. Organised by Equity, the trade union known for representing actors and actresses, the ten point code of conduct outlines the basic requirements for models on photo-shoots. The deal means models hired by British Vogue must be treated with "respect and professionalism", with nothing "dangerous, degrading, unprofessional or demeaning" to be imposed on them. Models can work a maximum of ten hours a day and must have adequate breaks, be provided with food and drinks and must give prior consent for semi-nude or nude work. It also states that models under the age of 16 cannot be used in photo shoots representing adults, must be accompanied by a chaperone, with no nudity or semi-nudity allowed.

It also takes into account models appearances and states that a model will not be expected to cut their hair or make long lasting changes to their appearance without express agreement, as well as being asked to approve any nudity or partial nudity before they begin.

Other requisites include transport, prompt payment, changing rooms and suitable temperatures for the clothes being modelled.
Model Dunja Knezevic who is also the chair of Equity's model committee, said she hopes that other magazines will also sign up and "prevent treatment of the kind which would be wholly unacceptable in any other professional".

This move follows the Vogue Health Initiative, which was launched in May 2012 - a pact between the 20 international editors of Vogue last year to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry. The treatment of models was also highlighted last year when Kate Moss spoke in an interview with Vanity Fair about her experiences as a young model, involving frequent nudity which she says caused her distress. She said "But they were like, if you don't do it then we are not going to book you ever again. So I would lock myself in the toilet and cry and then come out and do it. I never felt very comfortable about it". I think this is a great step forward for the fashion industry and hope that others will follow suit and hopefully respectful treatment of models will be standard worldwide, as it should be.

Written by Rose Humble