Adding fuel to the controversy surrounding the use of ‘stick thin’ models on the catwalks and runways of the world is the refusal announced by Britains Fashion Council not to call for a ban on models considered to be too thin.
After a meeting in Paris of the worlds fashion federations, the fashion council declared that a ban was neither desirable or enforceable and suggested that healthy models above the age of sixteen should only be used.
The fact is that if a ban is introduced there is every possibility that naturally stick thin girls, however healthy, will be discriminated against as the fashion industry leans over backwards to employ models that will not encourage controversy and not put in jeopardy the grants and sponsorship they enjoy from putting on shows in the fashion capitals of the world.
Naturally politicians have got on the bandwagon and, as so often is the case, in their desire for self promotion and publicity they have not thought through the logical consequences of such a ban being imposed.
The London Assembly supports London Fashion Week. The Liberal Democrats who sit on the assembly have called upon Ken Livingstone, the mayor to act!
There has been some instances of models suffering from eating disorders in trying to maintain the so called stick thin image deemed to be a necessity for catwalk work and a reported case in Brazil of a model suffering from a fatal heart attack brought about by being anorexic.
It is upon this evidence that critics believe the use of slender catwalk models sends out the wrong message to all girls that to be fashionable they must be ultra thin leading to the danger of succumbing to an eating disorder to do so.
Spain got in on the act earlier last year by imposing bans on the use of ultra thin models, irrespective of their health.
The Italian government and its fashion leaders have entered an agreement to keep models “who appear sickly thin” off the catwalks unless they can prove themselves fit and healthy.
The French health authorities are in talks with their fashion industry on the subject and in Brazil a campaign has been launched to ban under age and underweight models from the runways and catwalks.
In the Brazilian instance it must be hoped that the term underweight is given due thought in a health context.
New York’s fashion show organizers have very sensibly only issued guidelines and not imposed any bans.
So far all the restrictions proposed or imposed by other countries, with the sole exception of Spain’s discriminatory and ill thought through and arbitrary imposition of bans that could also be construed as an unnecessary assault on civil rights, have been sensible and justified.
Britain’s Fashion Council has a very sensible stance on this issue.
If London’s Fashion Week is destroyed, Britain’s fashion industry becomes undermined, models and the many others that rely on the industry lose their livelihoods due the self promoting zeal of a second rate politician with the support of her equally low calibre party colleagues it will add to the increasingly poor opinion of politicians shown by the public.
It is in the interests of all concerned in the British fashion industry that the Mayor of London does not give any credence to the Liberal Democrats actions and comes out strongly in support of the Fashion Councils sensible suggestions.