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Old 4th May 2012   #1
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Join Date: January 2010
Posts: 188
Default Vogue to use fuller-figured models?

Will all editions of Vogue, worldwide, be using fuller-figured models from now on?

So goes the claim in the following news article.

The story comes with a photo:

No, this is not a contingent of Vogue's new models. Rather, these are the editors of the worldwide editions of Vogue, with Anna Wintour in the centre, Franca Sozzani (whose magazine has been the most pro-curvy, thus far), to the left, and British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman in red (who once put plus-size model Sara Morrison in her magazine's pages, too many years ago) to the right.

The pertinent points in the article are as follows:

Vogue magazine changes its covergirls from waif-like to fuller-figured

AP May 04, 2012

VOGUE magazine, perhaps the world's top arbiter of style, has introduced an editorial shift towards fuller-figured, older models.

The 19 editors of Vogue magazines around the world made a pact to project the image of healthy models, according to a Conde Nast International announcement.

They agreed to "not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder," and said they will ask casting directors to check IDs at photo shoots and fashion shows and for ad campaigns.

American, French, Chinese and British editions of the fashion glossies are among those that will start following the new guidelines with their June issues; the Japanese edition will begin with its July book.

"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 in a statement.
Rec Coverage 28 Day pass

Models' health - and especially their weight - has been a lightning rod the past few years, especially after the death of two models from apparent complications from eating disorders in 2006-07

This sounds incredible, doesn't it? All of the world's Vogue editors joining together to ban the use of underweight models.

Could this mean that the fashion industry is finally changing? Will it stop promoting anorexia?

A little skepticism is in order, I think.

While the principle of the move is excellent, consider the next portion of the article:

The focus, until now, has been on runway fashion shows.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America adopted a voluntary initiative in 2007, which emphasises age minimums and healthy working environments during New York Fashion Week, and London Fashion Week designers sign a contract with the British Fashion Council to use models who are at least 16.

The Vogue guidelines are largely similar to the CFDA's - no surprise since US editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was instrumental in crafting them.

Unfortunately, those guidelines have had no appreciable effect on the size of the models who walk in runway shows, who appear to be as emaciated as ever.

One can only hope that these new Vogue print guidelines will have a more demonstrable effect in print than they've had on the runway. Otherwise, I foresee that we'll be comparing past and present issues of Vogue and saying, "Where's the difference?"

The article includes an acknowledgment of the profound impact that models have in shaping women's body image:

There is persistent criticism that the fashion world creates a largely unattainable and unhealthy standard that particularly affects impressionable young girls.

"We know that there is an impact for young girls of what is put in front of them in terms of media," said Elissa J. Brown, professor of psychology at St. John University and founder of The Partners Program, a specialised therapy program for children and adolescents.

A change in what they see on the pages of prestigious fashion magazines could change the image of what they would strive for, she said.

It wouldn't hurt for parents to take a look at healthier looking models, too, she added. "I'm a mother and I hear other mothers talk about the parts of their bodies they don't like in front of their daughters instead of talking about health. If the message becomes about health, it could have a tremendous impact."

And Conde Nast, taking pains to say the right things, acknowledges this.

Conde Nast, in its announcement, recognised that fashion models serve as role models for "many women," and the publisher wants to ensure that the models in its pages "are well cared for and educated in ways that will encourage and help them to take care of themselves, addressing as many of the pressing issues relating to ill-health in the industry as can realistically be tackled."

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."

Well, at least they are now admitting to their significant influence on society, which is an issue around which they've tiptoed in the past.

Is this a portent of real change in the fashion industry? Or is Conde Nast merely paying lip service to the issue of body image, and now, having made this very public gesture in order to give itself cover, will it merely continue using underweight models?

Will we be seeing more plus-size models in Vogue? And even if we do, will it matter -- that is, will those models be truly full-figured (U.S. size 16 and up), in which case this would be a genuine change for the better? Or will the models simply be faux-plus girls, and thus look identical to the usual waifs?

One wants to give this initiative the benefit of the doubt, but past disappointments warrant skepticism. We will simply have to wait and see.

Last edited by HSG : 9th May 2012 at 17:40. Reason: URL updatd
Meredith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th May 2012   #2
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Join Date: January 2011
Posts: 155
Default Re: Vogue to use fuller-figured models?

Commendably, Tyra Banks has published an "open letter" to Vogue applauding the organization for its decision. To her credit, Tyra has more credibility on this issue than many people in the fashion industry go, given that she has at least attempted to include a few plus-size models in her America's Next Top Model program, and more significantly, that she crowned Whitney Thompson as the first plus-size winner of the show, in Cycle 10.

Tyra makes a good point as to why this is significant:

To models around the world, I want to celebrate Vogue’s recent groundbreaking announcement. The editors of Vogue’s 19 international editions have pledged to ban models from their pages who “appear to have an eating disorder,” to create healthy backstage working conditions, as well as several other revolutionary initiatives. This calls for a toast over some barbecue and burgers!

When I started modeling, I used to see models who seemed unhealthy backstage at fashion shows. They appeared to be abusing their bodies to maintain a certain weight. These girls were booked over and over again for countless fashion shows and photo shoots. I’m sure many of you today have witnessed this, or even live it. Now, real progress is finally on the horizon. Vogue is stepping up, doing the right thing, and protecting that girl.

Tyra goes on to explain how the fashion industry has much gotten worse, on the issue of size, since the time that she was modelling.

I'd like to hope that this Vogue move will push it back in a more positive direction, but like others, I'm very skeptical until I see some actual change. In the meantime, Tyra's letter shines a spotlight on this so-called commitment by the magazine, which will (one would hope) make it harder for Vogue to weasel out of it, if it should choose to try to do so.
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Old 18th May 2012   #3
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Join Date: October 2010
Posts: 133
Default Re: Vogue to use fuller-figured models?

Tyra Banks was on Good Morning America yesterday, speaking on this very issue. Her comments are well worth considering.

It's wonderful that she is bringing this matter to public attention. As Pamela said, it will help hold Vogue's feet to the fire and possibly compel them to actually make some changes in their anorexia-causing booking policies.
Shelley is offline   Reply With Quote

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