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Vogue editor makes film on fashion fakery


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British Vogue has further developed its Health Initiative, first announced in May 2012, by creating an educational film for schoolchildren detailing what goes into a photoshoot to produce the images that they see in magazines.

The wider aim of the Health Initiative is to promote a healthy body image within the fashion industry, which has for years been dogged by claims that it encourages young people to aspire to unrealistic – and sometimes completely falsified and unattainable – body ideals.  The initiative includes a pledge not to use models under the age of 16, and a code of conduct to ensure that models are provided with sufficient healthy food, privacy and rest while working.

The video, narrated by model Jade Parfitt, is part of a lesson devised by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman to hopefully illustrate "the skill and artifice that makes the final product…the difference between fashion and reality and how a fashion image is constructe.". The film features Vogue editors including fashion director Lucinda Chambers, fashion bookings Editor Rosie Vogel and creative director Jaime Perlman, fashion photographer Josh Olins, make-up artist Sally Branka and model Drake Burnette, all explaining the complexities of creating a fashion image and demonsrating the huge number of people it takes to create these seemingly perfect images.

Shulman explained: "As editor of Vogue, I am frequently asked about the influence and messages the images in the magazine send to our readers about body image. Our mission in Vogue's fashion pictures is to inspire and entertain, while showing the clothes created by many highly talented designers.

"They are created with this intention in mind, not to represent reality. The problem, if there is a problem, comes when people judge themselves and their appearance against the models they see on the pages of a magazine and then feel that in some way they fall short."

Shulman’s film is said to have been distributed to secondary schools ahead of the autumn term, to allow teachers time to include it in their teaching programmes over the next few months: "I'm hoping that it will be fun for the pupils," she says, "but, actually, it will make some serious points."

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