It’s starting to seem like every time Fashion Week rolls around, the industry makes a lot of noise about self-regulation regarding models’ health and age, while the girls — and they are girls — remain as young and skinny as ever. Tomorrow, however, the British trade union Equity is meeting to suggest new rules that are, at least, specific. Here’s what they’re proposing:
- A maximum ten hour work day.
- Mandatory meals. Now, if only there was a way to make sure everyone else on set didn’t shame the models for eating said meals.
- Covered expenses for work-related travel over ten miles.
- “Respect and dignity toward models at all times” — this should already be a rule, but seems difficult to enforce in reality. And just the fact that it has to be spelled out is worrisome.
- No drastically altering a model’s appearance unless it is agreed to. Remember the bleached brows trend a few seasons back? Yeah, we felt bad for those girls, too.
Even though Diane von Furstenberg helps set the guidelines regarding models’ ages, then-15-year-old Hailey Clauson made it into her Fall 2011 show, anyway. This is why more specific regulation is necessary.
- Nudity and semi-nudity must be approved in advance. This should be obvious.
- Private areas to change, and bathrooms, must be provided. Again, this should be obvious.
- Studio temperature must be at least 21 degrees Celsius. This translates to about 70 degrees in Fahrenheit. That actually seems to be erring on the side of caution. Also, this rule doesn’t cover outdoor shoots, which is where extreme weather factors in more problematically.
- Insurance coverage must be provided, payment must be prompt.
- Last but not least, models under 16 must be chaperoned. We can barely believe that at this point, models under 16 aren’t chaperoned.
Of course, these rules, if passed, would only apply in Britain (though with London voted the world’s most fashionable city for the second year in a row, at least that kind of means something). And London Fashion Week has already put the kibosh on models younger than 16 working the runways. That said, Equity’s proposed guidelines provide a level of clarity that’s a necessary addition to the CFDA’s Health Initiative, which five years in, clearly hasn’t made much of an impact. Here’s hoping the campaign gets implemented.