DANISH FASHION ETHICAL CHARTER

PURPOSE

Danish Fashion Ethical Charter seeks to ensure the well-being of Danish models and to contribute to the creation of relevant and appropriate information about eating disorders and about the beauty and body ideals the fashion industry is a part of creating.

Danish Fashion Ethical Charter will also help raise awareness and influence attitudes in the fashion industry as well as in the media and in society in general, which is why the charter contains a number of measures and rules signatories must adhere to.

BACKGROUND ON EATING DISORDERS

Many people, especially the young, struggle to achieve unrealistically thin body ideals and the occurrence of serious eating disorders is on the rise. Approximately 75,000 Danes suffer from an eating disorder, and the same number exhibit at-risk behaviour that can easily develop into an eating disorder. Out of the 75,000 who suffer from an eating disorder, 5,000 suffer from anorexia, 30,000 from bulimia and 40,000 from overeating. To that can be added an unknown number of people suffering from orthorexia and megarexia.

Anorexia is often in focus when discussing the connection between the fashion industry and eating disorders. A serious societal issue, anorexia is a very dangerous condition and represents one of the most deadly diseases for young people. Many more people, however, suffer from bulimia, which often is not as physically apparent. As a result the charter addresses all forms of eating disorders.

VALUES

Danish Fashion Ethical Charter focuses on three core values involving accountability, compassionate respect and health:

  1. We respect and protect industry employees (including models) and the colleagues we work with. We wish to ensure their health and safety, and we appreciate diversity.
  2. We are aware of and take responsibility for the impact the fashion industry has on body ideals, especially on young people.
  3. We wish to promote and work towards healthy lifestyles as well as a healthy body ideal that reflects a healthy relationship to food, body and exercise.

 

RULES

Danish Fashion Ethical Charter consists of four general rules:

Health check:

The health check contains an introductory consultation and, if necessary, a screening for risk behaviour or an actual eating disorder.

  • If models are deemed to not have any problems or to be sick, a certificate is issued indicating that they have completed a health check.
  • If models exhibit risk behaviour, they are referred to other types of support services e.g. The Danish Association against Eating Disorders and Self-harm.
  • If models are sick, they must contact their own doctor, who will refer them to a psychiatrist. In both cases the agency will follow up to ensure that this has happened.

The agency is informed if a model does not pass the health check.

Standardised national health checks are currently not available, which is why the following schedule is to be put forward in the expectation that health authorities will assist in ensuring the implementation of an annual health check:

  • By the end of 2015 for all models under the age of 18
  • By the end of 2016 for all models under the age of 20
  • By the end of 2017 for all models under the age of 25

 

Age limit:

Models must be at least 16 years of age in order to work.

Models who are 15 years of age can be given dispensation to work if accompanied by an adult. Models under 15 can only work with children’s and teenage clothing and likewise must be accompanied by an adult (which the agency arranges). The charter also refers to the Danish Working Environment Act.

Healthy diet:

Clients (fashion companies, photographers, magazines, ad agencies and others) commit to serving models nutritious and healthy food at jobs that last more than two hours.

Wages:

Models must receive monetary payment for their work. Dispensation from the obligation to pay wages is only possible in agreement with the model for work done for educational institutions, student projects, charities and non-commercial publications (i.e. publications without advertising revenues or sales).

Note on wages: Agreements concerning specific wages and conditions are made between the model agency/the model and the client and between the model agency and the model. Greater transparency and assurance of the individual model’s rights are required in this connection.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Danish Fashion Ethical Charter recommends that a formal framework agreement be entered into concerning wages and working conditions between the associations for model agencies and models. When such an agreement has been entered into, Danish Fashion Ethical Charter will refer to it in terms of, for example wages.
  • Danish Fashion Ethical Charter recommends that, based on the model agency 2PM’s experience with teaching, a short educational course for models working with agencies be designed to teach models about, for example diet, nutrition and mental health. The format must allow implementation at any model agency and agencies are recommended to conduct at least one educational course yearly. The purpose is to support and strengthen models to cope with the realities of being a model and the world they are thrown into, often at a very young age.
  • Danish Fashion Ethical Charter recommends greater transparency and awareness concerning retouched photos in e.g. fashion magazines.

 

COMMITMENT – SIGNATORIES

Anyone can commit to Danish Fashion Ethical Charter by signing it. The aim is to establish broad backing from the fashion industry’s relevant stakeholders and companies (such as model agencies, fashion companies, magazines, industry organisations, associations, photographers, ad agencies, PR agencies and trade fairs).

Danish Fashion Institute receives and files signed agreements. Signatories receive the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter logo pack for use on, for instance the signatories’ own website, materials and campaigns, as long as the charter’s rules are adhered to.

The names of signatories are listed on the Danish Fashion Institute, Dansk Fashion & Textile, and WEAR websites, as well as on danishfashionethicalcharter.com.

In addition fashion companies and other players (magazines, PR agencies, stores, agencies) who wish to participate with a show, an event or as a supplier during Copenhagen Fashion Week are required to sign the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter to be part of the official fashion week programme.