The head honchos at Vogue have released an official apology after it was brought to their attention that two different Vogues had violated the guidelines set forth in their recent “health initiative” by using underage models.
Back in May, Vogue released a 6-point “health initiative” that was supposed to apply to all 19 of its titles:
1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.
2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.
3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.
4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.
5. We 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.
6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.
It was unclear how they were going to continue to promote “healthy body image” while using very thin models to the exclusion of all other body types, but it was a start, especially with regards to child labor.
Unfortunately, it was only two months before Vogue China violated the guidelines by shooting 15-year-old model Ondria Hardin (above) for its August issue. Next, Vogue Japan shot the 14-year-old model Thairine Garcia (below, in Revista magazine) for its December issue, but due to the high profile rule violation, the spread probably will not run.
Head of Condé Nast International Jonathan Newhouse has released the following statement:
“The Health Initiative banning underage models is very serious, and we will reinforce it. I apologize for the error that took place in China. We will do everything possible to prevent future errors.”
Vogue China’s editor has also apologized, but Vogue Japan is claiming they didn’t know Garcia was underage, which is funny, considering a simple Google search of her name reveals that she’s 14 without even having to click through to any websites.
I’m not sure why it’s so hard for Vogue to stick to its own rules, especially considering the “16+” mandate still leaves plenty of room for them to make up high school aged teens to look like impossibly willowy grown-ups. Then again, this is the fashion world we’re talking about, where models are routinely taken out back behind the woodshed and shot as soon as they turn 26.