The former model and founder of the Premier agency, Carole White, met with Jo Swinson, a member of the British Parliament, to discuss just what to do about the highly unregulated modeling industry. At this point, the fact that it’s populated by underage girls who are largely unsupervised and expected to maintain levels of thinness well beyond the norm is a well-documented problem. But where to begin righting it?
Well, the two women may have not reached any hard and fast conclusions, but the two most important notes to come out of their conversation were the importance of chaperoning and the fact that the different parts of the fashion industry need to work together. Swinson, in particular, sees the problem with a gimlet eye. She pointed out that each cog in the wheel — designers, magazines, agencies — claims to be merely accommodating the ridiculous standards of youth and weight requested by the other factions.
But while it’s going to be a Herculean feat to get those different groups to change their views, what else can be fixed first? That’s where chaperoning comes in. Though it ought to be obvious at this point, Swinson argues that models younger than 16 need to be given the same protection as child actors (a far more carefully watched, regulated bunch). Chaperoning would be a big part of that. It’s not a groundbreaking assertion, but one that’s rarely addressed by the fashion industry — Swinson deserves recognition for saying it out loud.