Oct 5, 2008
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Australia may push for more 'real' models in fashion

Oct 5, 2008

A model at Australian Fashion Week - Photo : Greg Wood/AFP
SYDNEY, Oct 5, 2008 (AFP) - The Australian government may ask the fashion industry to use more normal-sized models as it battles to encourage a healthy body image among young people, a federal minister said Sunday.

Youth minister Kate Ellis said the government was considering introducing a code of conduct which would apply to the fashion, advertising and media industries.

"It's about representing people of all different sizes and all different looks and ensuring people know that it's OK not to (be skinny)," she told The Sunday Telegraph.

The code of conduct could also require fashion magazines to disclose which images had been digitally enhanced and limit the placement of advertisements for diet products and cosmetic surgery.

"It talks about disclosing when images are being altered so that kids aren't aspiring to look like models that don't look like that in real life anyway," Ellis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"It's about transparency in the media but also promoting health, promoting healthy body images and saying healthy is beautiful."

A generation of children were suffering from eating disorders as they tried to look like catwalk models, said Ellis, who is pushing for the national code to be finalised by January.

The minister said such a code could be effective even if it were voluntary but that it was important the government worked with the media and fashion industries to implement change.

"We need to have them on board and we need them to recognise the importance of making sure that we're sending out positive messages," she said.

But the editor of Australian Vogue Kirstie Clements was pessimistic about the plan, saying the use of more normal-sized women in fashion magazines had not been successful in the past.

"It's about beautiful young girls creating beautiful fantasies. It always has been, it always will be," Clements told The Sunday Telegraph.

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