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Debenhams signs up to new code for  fair treatment of models

Debenhams has become the first retailer to sign up to the Equity code for the fair treatment of models which will apply to models featured in all of its photo shoots, TV ads, PR ‘look books’ and images on its website.


Debenhams signs up to new code for fair treatment of models

The retailer is the second organisation to sign up to the code of conduct, the first being fashion bible Vogue.

By signing, models hired by Debenhams will have a pre-agreed maximum length of working hours, provision of breaks and refreshments during shoots, the assurance that relevant insurances are in place such as travel and public liability, and private changing areas. In addition, the general nature of all shoots will be explained in advance to ensure semi-nudity is agreed by the model and there will also be prompt payment in accordance with agreed payment terms by the retailer and also the agencies it uses.

The move builds on Debenhams’ existing guidelines that ensure no-one under 16 will be used to represent an adult and that all models must be at least a size eight and no smaller.

"Fair treatment of everyone who models for us has always been a priority. The code firmly cements our ambition. We hope others follow our lead", said Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams.

Hilary Hadley, head of live performance at Equity, added: "Since Equity took models into membership we have worked hard to ensure that they receive terms and conditions equal to those enjoyed by our members working throughout the entertainment industry. This has sadly been far from the case.

"The Ten Point Code really concentrates on the basics. It ensures that where the Code is adopted models will be treated with respect and professionalism and all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the safety, health, well-being and dignity of a model is protected and maintained at all times during the contract period.

"We would hope that now Vogue and Debenhams have taken the lead more organisations will follow suit and that the Ten Point Code becomes the accepted starting point for all models working in the fashion industry."

Last month, Debenhams launched a fashion campaign featuring a diverse range of models including an amputee, a paralympian athlete and three models over the age of 40. At the time, the retailer said it hoped the move would "further challenge the perceived norms of the fashion industry", showing that "a broader range of body and beauty ideals is a good thing". 


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