In Summary
  • Low self-esteem translates on location and runways, girls ill at ease in their bodies, unaware how to transition into the full bloom of womanhood, paying to get work, or willing to work for free.
  • Charter bans the use of European size 32/US size 1 female and size 42UK male models, embracing sizes 34 and 44 respectively.
  • You know those straight to TV Lifetime movies that make us wonder how desperate people must be to let themselves be talked into taking nudes and later getting blackmailed?

If I had Sh100 for every time a pretty wisp of a girl approached to tell me they wanted to be a model, I would have used it to pay for season 25 of America’s Next Top Model.

The health of models is always nailed down to the one thing – the idea that they are too skinny. It spills over into sexploitation. Tales of Kenyan models naive and eager to break into the industry reach me frequently. Treated like chattels, there are stories describing exchanging of sex for opportunities.

Low self-esteem translates on location and runways, girls ill at ease in their bodies, unaware how to transition into the full bloom of womanhood, paying to get work, or willing to work for free. There are no standards in the modelling industry locally and not even globally.

Not until September 6 when two fashion conglomerates signed the Charter of Working Relationships with Fashion Models and Their Wellbeing. LVMH and Kering house iconic brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy. The

Charter bans the use of European size 32/US size 1 female and size 42UK male models, embracing sizes 34 and 44 respectively. It provides psychologists or therapists for models – keep in mind eating disorders and resulting deaths –, strict agreements on semi and full nudity, banning of alcohol on locations and instead supplying healthy food and drinks. Teenage bodies are expected to measure 30-22-32. Maintained only if you have gangly genes or never eat.

Models aged 16 to 18 will not work between 10 pm and 6 am. A chaperone must be provided for them, school cannot be neglected and they will be housed with their guardians/chaperones. The ideal is to phase out models under 18. A certified brand representative will be made available for the girls at all times.

Models can make direct complaints through said rep. There is a hotline should models feel pressured over their weight. A committee will also be set up to meet with designers, models and agencies every six months with the intention of checking up on the progress of the charter. It is expected to take effect immediately with the upcoming fashion week.

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