MP Calls For Thin Models To Be Banned From Catwalk Ahead Of London Fashion Week

Thin Models Should Be Banned From Catwalk, Says MP

As the industry gears up for this year's London Fashion Week, the size zero debate has once again been brought to the forefront - and one British MP is calling for a ban on very thin models.

Caroline Noakes MP, who heads the All Parliamentary Group on Body Image, is campaigning for a law banning models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of under 18 from the catwalk.

Noakes hopes Britain will follow in the lead of France, which is the latest country to vote to criminalise the use of models who are dangerously thin.

Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 16

Victoria Beckham was recently criticised by for using 'skinny models' in her latest show at New York Fashion Week.

Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England, which is coordinating the Be Real body confidence campaign, called Beckham's show a "prime example of selecting models based on the outdated premise that the only way to sell products is by presenting an idealised view of the female body".

Meanwhile, journalist Piers Morgan described the models in Beckham's show as looking both "painfully thin" and "painfully miserable".

And earlier this year a YSL advert was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, who deemed it to be 'irresponsible' for featuring an "unhealthily underweight" model.

A YSL advert banned for featuring an "unhealthily underweight" model

However not everyone agrees that a focus on BMI would promote health.

The British Fashion Council currently does not enforce BMI, as they believe it is an inaccurate measure for young women.

Instead, the organisation say they have "a focus on looking after models [and] encourage health and wellbeing with healthy food and drink provided backstage at shows."

Alice Dogruyol, founder of premium denim brand Beauty in Curves, told HuffPost UK Style "To criminalise a BMI of less than 18 and threaten models with legal action is ludicrous - BMI is not an accurate measure of a person’s health and fitness.

"Fashion brands do need to take more responsibility and represent diverse body shapes and sizes on global catwalks.

"Surely the focus should be on health, not just body size. There are other things above and beyond size that require stronger legislation and matter more, such as the issues of smoking or binge drinking."

Many people have also spoken out about how a ban on certain body types would not be a positive step for women's body image in general.

Rivkie Baum, editor of plus-size magazine SLiNK told HuffPost UK Lifestyle: "The way to greater diversity and representation in fashion and the media is not to pit one type of body against another.

"Piers [Morgan] is right that the use of just very slim models both on the catwalk and within mainstream media gives many young girls unrealistic body ideals, but it is not about banishing very slim models altogether."

Baum adds that New York Fashion Week is "quickly becoming a leader in using a more diverse set of models", with a number of a curvy figures taking to the runway alongside their straight-size model counterparts this week, in shows such as the Chromat one.

She says: "It is these designers and catwalks that demonstrate to young girls that fashion and the media accepts different bodies and this will ultimately play a huge part in re-educating young women about the relationship they can form with themselves. Let's not use skinny-shaming as a way of calling for greater diversity."

The Huffington Post has recently launched our #NYFW4All and #LFW4All campaign to highlight moments in Fashion Week that include people of all skin tones, genders, sizes, shapes and personalities - and we'll be shining a spotlight on shows that include models with a more diverse range of body types at this September's London Fashion Week.


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