The fashion houses behind brands including Christian Dior and Gucci have said they will stop using underweight models for their catwalk shows. LVMH and Kering, two of the biggest fashion firms in the world, made the move amid criticism the industry encourages eating disorders. Kering's billionaire chairman Francois-Henri Pinault said the firms hoped to "inspire the entire industry to follow suit". Danish model Ulrikke Hoyer said she had been asked to starve herself in the run-up to a show.
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A law in France banning the use of unhealthily thin fashion models has come into effect. Models will need to provide a doctor's certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index BMI - a measure of weight in relation to height. A previous version of the bill had suggested a minimum BMI for models, prompting protests from modelling agencies in France. But the final version, backed by MPs , allows doctors to decide whether a model is too thin by taking into account their weight, age, and body shape. France is not the first country to legislate on underweight models - Italy, Spain and Israel have all done so.
Six countries taking steps to tackle super-skinny models
O ne of the most controversial aspects of fashion magazines, and the fashion industry, is models. Specifically, how young they are and how thin they are. It's a topic that continues to create endless debate, in the press and in the community. As the editor of Australian Vogue, my opinion was constantly sought on these issues, and the images we produced in the magazine were closely scrutinised. When I first began dealing with models in the late s we were generally drawing from a pool of local girls, who were naturally willowy and slim, had glowing skin, shiny hair and loads of energy.
In the past 12 months, several nations have been striving to combat the high rates of eating disorders within the fashion industry, with a focus on the models themselves. Israel banned underweight models in January, and just last week, France considered banning underweight models as well ultimately deciding against it , but opening up an important conversation nonetheless. On paper, this sounds like a progressive idea. When you consider how many fashion models have died from complications caused by anorexia nervosa and bulimia — and when you consider the impact that seeing only images of extremely slender women in the media can have on developing girls — ensuring that models don't constantly hint at an advertisement for ED seems like the smart, body-positive move.