Vogue promotes healthier body image – yay!

Good news girls! Vogue’s 19 international editors have made a pact to encourage a healthier approach to body image in the fashion industry in a fancy programme called The Health Initiative. This hopefully means less tiny hungry models on the catwalk.

“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,” says UK Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman. It will reportedly “build on the successful work that the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the support of American Vogue in the US and the British Fashion Council (BFC) in the UK have already begun to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry.”

This is obviously really good news, but I am aware that plenty of top designers insist upon using super-skinny girls and as the fashion magazines and the BFC need a good relationship with all the best designers, the issue can be brushed aside. It is something that all parts of the fashion industry needs to embrace.

To its credit, Vogue has vowed to “work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image” and to “be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image,” which is great. We’re not sure we will see a range of sizes in the fashion glossies on a regular basis any time soon but it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

The BFC wrapped up its Model Health Inquiry in 2007 and has a Model Programme to promote healthy models. There are now a bunch of recommendations in designers’ LFW contracts such as no under 16s on the catwalk, healthy food and drink to be available backstage and relaxation zones as well as a representative body for models…but these are recommendations and arguably more needs to be done to make sure we have healthy, happy models who are better role models for girls. It is arguably natural for designers to want to showcase their work on pretty girls (let’s not presume otherwise!) but this does not been that they have to be hungry-looking. After all, it is women of various shapes, sizes and ages who the fashion industry seeks to inspire and who buy the clothes.

Jonathan Newhouse, Condé Nast International chairman, says: “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 wellbeing of their readers.”

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