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Debenhams signs fair treatment code for models
May '13
Debenhams became the first retailer to sign up to the Equity code for fair treatment of models in all of its photo shoots, TV ads, PR ‘look books’ and images on Debenhams.com.

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

By signing, models hired by Debenhams will get further assurances in relation to working conditions and treatment including:

- Pre-agreed maximum length of working hours.
- Provision of breaks and refreshments during shoots.
- The general nature of all shoots will be explained in advance to ensure semi-nudity is agreed by the model.
- Private changing areas will be provided.
- Relevant insurances are in place such as travel and public liability.
- Prompt payment in accordance with agreed payment terms by the retailer and also the agencies it uses.

The move builds on Debenhams’ already stringent and responsible 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, Debenhams.

The initiative follows in the path of a number of campaigns by the retailer to promote positive body image. Most recently, Debenhams released a fashion ‘look book’ highlighting the best ranges it had to offer.

However, the imagery within the ‘look book’ turned its back on the industry norm of young, thin models. Instead it featured an amputee, three models over 40 - including one nearing 70 - a paralympian athlete and swimwear shots celebrate curves using a size 18 model.

It follows a string of industry firsts from Debenhams which included the use of a disabled model when it launched the Principles brand; size 16 mannequins in stores to more accurately reflect the shape of its customers; the banning of airbrushing on swimwear imagery and lingerie campaigns featuring a 50+ model.

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