“Attempts to ban size-zero models from catwalks could lead to ultra-skinny models taking legal action for discrimination, leading fashion industry figures have warned.” This news make me smile and smile and smile!
Discrimination is illegal don’cha’know. This is what happens when 18.5 BMI is used as a tool to determine who can and who cannot be a model. Hehehe. Smack. Down! Gleeeeeeeeee.
Models’ threat to sue blocked size zero ban
Agencies planned catwalk rebellion if scheme to exclude superthin models was given go-ahead
Vanessa Thorpe and Denis Campbell
Sunday February 11, 2007
Attempts to ban size-zero models from catwalks could lead to ultra-skinny models taking legal action for discrimination, leading fashion industry figures have warned.
Pressure is building on designers and model agencies to use larger women at shows and photographic shoots amid claims that images of the very slim are contributing to eating disorders. New moves to restrict the use of very thin models, and to limit the production of clothes which are designed to fit only women of that shape, will be discussed by a task force which the industry is setting up in response to growing criticism.
However, Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue and a member of the London Fashion Council, said: ‘We would not be allowed to discriminate in that way. It would be like saying you can’t have black or white models. By imposing new rules on models’ size, you would be trying to prove whether someone was ill or well.’
Shulman argued that the fashion industry should not be singled out when other professions which have skinny women in prominent roles, such as broadcasting and acting, are also influential. ‘No reputable agency uses models who are not well and starvation is just one of the problems. Drugs is a big one. And their psychological health is important too’, she said.
Melissa Richardson, a director of Take Two model agency, which represents supermodels Jasmine Guinness and Sophie Dahl, said industry leaders had warned the government that a ban on size-zero models would be unworkable. ‘It was one of the points we made. You can’t say to models, “you can’t work because you are black or because you are blind”, so why should you be able to say “you are too thin to work”?.
‘Although being thin is a prerequisite for this kind of work, it’s also important that you eat well. Lots of models eat a lot and stay thin. They do not deserve to be pilloried. They have got more litigious,’ said Richardson, who has worked in the industry for 25 years.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, a prominent critic of size-zero models, yesterday recommended that models on display at London Fashion Week, which starts today, should undergo medical checks before appearing in designer shows. The British Fashion Council, which runs the event, has already refused to bow to calls to follow the lead of its counterparts in Milan, Madrid and New York by banning ‘unhealthy’ models whose body mass index is less than 18.5.
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the Beating Eating Disorders campaign group, said the situation was far more complicated. Some women with a BMI of under 18.5 can still be healthy while others whose BMI is above 18.5 may still suffer from a condition such as bulimia, said Ringwood. Size zero equates to a size four in British women’s clothing.
Meanwhile, fashion industry personnel will be trained how to spot signs that models have eating disorders under plans intended to banish criticism that the trade is damaging young women’s health. Bookers and other model agency staff would learn to detect physical and emotional symptoms of anorexia and bulimia such as a model becoming very secretive about what she eats, undergoing fluctuations in her weight, seeing her hair or skin turn lifeless and knowing the calorie content of foods but eating little.
Discreet wallet-sized advice cards would also be available at model agencies and fashion shows as a way of encouraging women to seek help.