The Danish Fashion Industry signs an Ethical Charter on Models

The Danish fashion industry has signed the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter, which shall ensure better well-being for models and a healthier body image. More than 300 businesses in the industry have declared their support to the new charter since its launch three weeks ago.

The debate on thin models and distorted body image has never been more heated or more current. As a result the trade associations Danish Fashion Institute, Danish Fashion & Textile and WEAR, the eight largest model agencies in Denmark, the Danish Association against Eating Disorders and Self-harm, and Model Union Denmark have launched a new, more stringent Danish Fashion Ethical Charter, which has explicit rules to ensure better well-being for models and a healthier body image in the industry.

Since its launch on 3 March 2015 signatures have flooded in from the Danish fashion industry to ally itself with the charter’s values and rules. Declarations of assent have been submitted by 320 companies from all sectors of the industry ­– from major corporations like Bestseller and DK Company to leading fashion brands such as By Malene Birger and Ganni, and from fashion magazines to design and advertising agencies, not to mention design schools, photographers and stylists.

The CEO of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week, Eva Kruse, who is very pleased with the strong support the charter is receiving, says:

”Recently in Denmark and abroad there’s been some gloomy examples showing that problems with the beauty ideals the fashion industry creates continue to exist. The stupendous amount of support being given to the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter speaks for itself; the Danish industry is aware of its responsibility and is prepared to take a collective step towards models having better well-being and towards a body image that is healthy and not sickly. We think that the fact that the industry is taking such an active part in the charter will have a much greater impact – also in the long run – than legislation issued by the authorities and fines, which have been discussed, for instance in France.”

The chair of the Danish Association against Eating Disorders and Self-harm, Anne Minor, states:

”We’re incredibly happy to see that the fashion industry is ready to get its fingers burnt to change conditions for models and to take responsibility for the body image it produces. We believe that the charter will make a difference via, for example compulsory health checks for models, which we think is the right solution compared to BMI, which cannot of course be used as a measure of physical and mental health.”

When the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter first saw the light of day back in 2007 it was originally based on a number of recommendations for terms for models involved with fashion weeks. The new 2015 charter now instead contains rules and sanctions that apply year around. The rules cover, for example an obligatory health check, a minimum age requirement of 16 and require wages for work. Moreover, admission to Copenhagen Fashion Week’s official show and event schedule now require participants to be charter signatories.

Danish Fashion & Textile’s managing director, Thomas Klausen, thinks that one of the reasons for the large amount of support is that social responsibility is already important in Danish society and especially in the Danish fashion industry:

”Of course I’m proud that we’ve succeeded in drawing such a large part of the Danish fashion industry together on this important cause, but it also honestly does not particularly surprise me. In Denmark we have a tradition for taking responsibility for our fellow human beings – which is true both in our society in general, but also specifically in the fashion industry, where in the recent decade we have worked intensively with sustainability and social responsibility.” 

The charter and a list of signatories are available at

The list includes, for example:

  • Corporations like Bestseller, DK Company and IC Group
  • Brands in all segments, such as By Malene Birger, Kopenhagen Fur, Ganni, Hummel, Soulland, Maria Black Jewellery, Ecco, Stine Goya and Ole Lynggaard Copenhagen
  • Magazines such as DANSK Magazine, ELLE Danmark, Alt for Damerne and Cover
  • Model agencies such as Unique, 2PM, Elite, Scoop, Le, Gossip, Heartbreak and Diva