Sep 3, 2012
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German women's magazine rethinking 'no models' policy

Sep 3, 2012

BERLIN, Sept 3, 2012 - One of Germany's top women's magazines said Monday it was reviewing its policy of only publishing photographs of amateur models instead of professionals.

The fortnightly magazine, Brigitte, made international headlines in October 2009 with the news that it would only print pictures of "real women" after readers complained they could not identify with ultra-thin professional models.

Models present creations from fashion house TCN at the Mercedes-Benz Spring/Summer 2013 Fashion Week in Madrid September 3, 2012. (REUTERS/Andrea Comas)

A spokeswoman for Gruner + Jahr publishing house told AFP that a new editor-in-chief planned a thorough overhaul of the magazine, confirming a report in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"Everything is under review, including the 'no models' policy," the spokeswoman said, but declined to provide further details until the new editor, Stephan Schaefer, and his co-chief settled on a strategy.

The first "no models" issue hit newsstands in January 2010. It prompted German designer Karl Lagerfeld to call the policy "absurd" and point out that fashion was all about "dreams and illusions".

The Sueddeutsche said one reason for questioning the policy was that lay models were harder for photographers and stylists to work with, while according to Brigitte the amateurs received pay "comparable" to that of professionals.

In addition, the magazine, which was founded in 1954, had to search for women to feature without the help of modelling agencies, also driving up costs.

And many readers complained that while the women in the pages of Brigitte may not be models, they tended to be as thin and pretty as the professionals and the magazine continued to prominently feature diet tips.

The Sueddeutsche report cited figures showing that sales had dropped to around 602,000 from about 802,000 in 2002 with little sign of a boost from the "no models" policy.

The Gruner + Jahr spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the numbers.

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