British Vogue has become the first publication to sign up to a new code of conduct on working conditions for models.
The influential title has taken the lead in agreeing to abide by a 10-point code drawn up by the models committee of Equity, the union better known for its campaigning for actors.
The deal means that models hired by British Vogue will work for no more than 10 hours a day, have suitable food provided and will do no nude or semi-nude shoots unless approved in advance. The code also includes breaks, transport, suitable temperatures for the clothes being modelled and prompt payment.
It lays down that no model should be asked to do anything “dangerous, degrading, unprofessional or demeaning”. It also means no models under the age of 16 can be used in photoshoots representing adult models.
Model Dunja Knezevic, the chair of Equity’s models committee, said she hoped that other magazines, retailers and designers would now also sign up and “prevent treatment of the kind which would be wholly unacceptable in any other profession”.
The code was drawn up to cover shoots both in studios and on location based on the experiences of union members working across the industry ranging from “the very good to the extremely bad”.
It comes in the wake of the Health Initiative pact agreed between the 20 international editors of Vogue last year to encourage a healthier approach to body image in the industry.
Their collaboration followed fierce criticism of the fashion world for continuing to use and promote excessively thin models despite the deaths of several. Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, said the magazine had been working with agencies to help in the education and mentoring of younger models. Signing up to the Equity code was another indication of its commitment to its models.
“Our support of the Equity code reinforces our continued commitment to set the benchmark for this important industry issue. We’re very pleased that Equity is using its position in such a positive way,” she said.