Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Pressure on Fashion Week Bosses to Ban Size-Zero Models

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Pressure on Fashion Week Bosses to Ban Size-Zero Models

Article excerpt


MOUNTING PRESSURE was today put on the organisers of London Fashion Week to drop stick-thin catwalk models.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell joined calls for designers to avoid using girls whose appearance is unhealthily underweight.

Her broadside came as a growing number of voices from the world of fashion demanded an end to the use of "size-zero" models - English size four.

Ms Jowell, one of the key ministers leading the drive to persuade teenagers to adopt healthier lifestyles, said it was harmful to young girls if they tried to emulate catwalk stars whose bodies were unnaturally thin.

"I'm not calling for regulation or saying that this is a matter for government, but this is an issue whose time has come," she said.

"If the designers think these images will not sell, if editors refrain from using the pictures and the public show their own preference against it, then things may change."

Ms Jowell is at the forefront of a fight to curb obesity among teenagers but said severe dieting by girls trying to emulate fashion photos was as dangerous to health as clinical obesity.

"There's all the difference between a healthy body weight that is slim and an emaciated body," she said.

"Research shows that it is actually healthier to be slightly bigger and take regular exercise than it is to be underweight but not take exercise.

"We are not talking here about models who are slim but girls who dare not put on a single pound in case it is the end of their careers.

That is obviously a bad example."

London Fashion Week - which started yesterday - is under increasing pressure to copy groundbreaking restrictions imposed by last week's Madrid fashion week, where models with a body mass index of less than 18 - a measurement based on United Nations health recommendat ions - we re banned from the catwalk.

Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S - one of the main backers of London Fashion Week - rejected the calls for a ban.

He said: "It's not about size, it's about health. If the girl eats well, exercises and looks good, then their actual BMI has nothing to do with it. …

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