Department store group Debenhams is the first high street retailer to sign up to the Equity code for the fair treatment of models used in its advertising, it has been announced today.
Following in the footsteps of fashion magazine Vogue, Debenhams has signed the 10 point code outlined by creative practitioners’ trade union Equity which will see signatories assure fair working conditions and treatment to its models, including pre-agreed maximum length of working hours, providing private changing areas and prompt payment in accordance with agreed payment terms.
“Fair treatment of everyone who models for us has always been a priority,” Michael Sharp, Debenhams CEO explained.
“The code firmly cements our ambition.We hope others follow our lead.” Debenhams noted that it already has “stringent and responsible” guidelines in place to ensure that all models are at least a size eight or above and that no one below the age of 16 is used within its photo shoots, TV ads, PR look books or images on Debenhams.com.
Last month, the group launched a look book featuring Paralympic athlete and amputee Stefanie Reid aimed at further challenging fashion industry ‘norms’ and this latest move further cements its commitment to representing diversity.
In recent years, Debenhams’ advertising has featured a size 18 bikini model, disabled models and models aged up to 70 while the retailer has also banned airbrushing from its images.
Dunja Knezevic, a working model and current Chair of Equity’s Models Committee, welcomed Debenhams’ involvement and said that it is hoped thatt he code will become an accepted starting point for models within the industry.
“It’s fantastic that Debenhams has supported models by being the first retailer to sign up to the Ten Point Code,” Knezevic said.
“Debenhams is not only positively employing models who represent the body image more typical of women in the work place, but they are treating models with the same care as a good employer.
“This new development will give the public confidence that Debenhams is treating models with the respect that they would expect to receive in the workplace.
“We can only hope that other major retailers will follow their example.
“Equity is delighted that more and more key players in the fashion industry are supporting the Equity Ten Point Code.”