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Late last week, the 19 editors of Vogue around the world made the promise to ban models under 16 or those of any age with visible signs of eating disorders; beginning with the June issues and including editions in America, France, Britain and China. They’re also encouraging fashion designers to reconsider “unrealistically” small sample sizes that make ultra-thin models necessary in the first place.

“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,” said Conde Nast International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse.

The health of models, especially their weight, has been in the spotlight over the past few years, especially after the death of two models from apparent complications from eating disorders in 2006 and 2007, but the focus, until now, has been on runway fashion shows.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America adopted a voluntary initiative in 2007 emphasising age minimums and healthy working environments during New York Fashion Week. London Fashion Week designers signed a contract with the British Fashion Council to use models who are at least 16. Anna Wintour, Vogue’s U.S. editor-in-chief, was instrumental in crafting the CFDA’s guidelines.

In addition to agreeing not to knowingly work with models under 16 or with eating disorders, the Vogue pact says the magazines will help “structure mentoring programs” for younger models and raise awareness of the problem of model health.

The magazines said they would encourage healthy working conditions backstage and 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”.

Conde Nast publishes other magazines, including Glamour and Allure, but a spokeswoman said there are no current plans for these guidelines to be adopted across the company.


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