Denmark Unveils Sweeping Model Health Measures

Photo: Simon Laessoe/Corbis

After news last week that France is considering legislation designed to discourage designers' use of ultrathin models, another country has unveiled a similar plan, albeit not in the form of government legislation. Denmark — far less of a fashion powerhouse, but the home of Copenhagen Fashion Week and influential labels like COS — has drafted the Danish Fashion Ethical Charter. The charter specifies that working models must be at least 16, and must submit to a health check, which includes a screening for disordered eating.

The website also has a "blacklist" (currently blank) where designers who don't abide by these rules will be listed — sort of an industry-wide scarlet-letter approach. The New York Times quotes Eva Kruse, head of the Danish Fashion Institute, as saying that 300 fashion entities have already signed the agreement. Those designers who sign on will receive an Ethical Fashion seal of approval they can use on their websites. Whether the incentive will work is unclear, but Kruse told the paper she thinks industry self-policing is the key to success and "will have a much greater impact, also in the long run, than legislation issued by the authorities and fines.”