Danish Fashion Ethical Charter Is A Positive Step Forward, But Needs Some Clearer Boundaries

Looks like the Netherlands is cracking down on unhealthy models. Denmark has released the Danish Fashion Ethical Fashion Charter, which suggests a set of regulations to protect the health of models and reduce the preponderance of unhealthy beauty standards. Gotta love those Danes for trying to run a socially responsible country.

Denmark is calling for its fashion designers to sign the four-page petition, which details a number of standard procedures for designers to follow with their models. As described on the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter website, they're encouraged to run a psychological and physical "health check" with all of their models. If any models are deemed "at risk" (suffering from eating disorders or self-harm), designers are required to send them to a support service. The charter also sets the legal minimum age for models at 16, addresses wages, and calls for designers to provide their models with a healthy snacks at jobs longer than two hours.

Additionally, the charter suggest that agencies conduct courses to teach their models about nutrition and healthy eating. Also, they recommend that companies become more transparent about the retouching of photos. Ultimately the aim is to "raise awareness and influence attitudes in the fashion industry as well as in the media and in society in general." So far, 300 designers have signed the edict. As further reason to sign the charter, Styleite reports that the non-compliant designers will be posted to a list on the internet.

This push towards a healthier model population — and, in turn, a healthier beauty ideal — is definitely a step in the right direction. Still, it seems like establishing a standard for many of the tenets of this charter will be a difficult thing. The definition of "healthy" foods will likely mean "low-calorie" foods to many designers. "At risk" behavior is also begging to be more concretely defined. Furthermore, it seems risky to place the responsibility of health education with the agencies, which are bodies that benefit from maintaining the beauty standard status quo. In order to make this work, there need to be clearer boundaries. Still, it's great that Denmark is trying to make the fashion industry a more responsible place. Hopefully, other countries will follow suit.