Blog: Leonie BarrieThe weight debate

Leonie Barrie | 26 January 2007

Just compare and contrast the two different stances taken by the fashion industries in the UK and Spain this week. Yesterday the British Fashion Council refused to ban ultra-thin models from catwalk shows, urging the industry to instead use “healthy models for its collections”; while on Wednesday some of Spain’s top retailers pledged to re-size their clothes to reflect “real women.” In fact, fashion show organisers in Madrid were the first to spark the debate over the link between ultra-thin catwalk models and eating disorders in young girls – and enforced the ban so strictly that around one-third of models were turned away from its catwalks in September. And last month fashion houses in Milan also lent their support by introducing a voluntary ban on super-skinny models.

So why does London seem to be dragging its heels? The links between ultra-thin models and rising levels of eating disorders in impressionable consumers seems to be proven. As does the fact that it’s not healthy for anyone – models included – to be a US size zero (UK size 4) as several recent deaths show. So suggesting that designers and model agencies use “healthy” models, without stipulating what this is, is pretty much giving the industry a free reign to set its own guidelines. This is exactly what it’s been doing for years.

Of course an outright ban on skinny models would be difficult to enforce. Would it mean having weighing scales and doctors behind the scenes at every fashion show? Or maybe it’s because the sponsors of London Fashion Week, including Topshop, Tissot, Superdrug and Renault, can’t reach an agreement. Or perhaps there needs to be a more widespread consensus between not only the designers, but also retailers and the media to lead a change of opinion and, more importantly, attitude. But if they can make these changes work in Spain, then why can’t we in London? 

Fashion Council won't ban ultra-skinny models


BLOG

Trump and Brexit generate more confusion

Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...

BLOG

Bangladesh works to resolve labour activist issues

The Bangladesh government was forced to respond late last week to pressure over its crackdown on labour activists after a number of global brands and retailers, including H&M and Inditex announced pla...

BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?