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

Byline: KATHARINE BARNEY;JOE MURPHY

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 - the equivalent to a UK size four.

Ms Jowell, one of the 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.

"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."

London Fashion Week - which started yesterday - is under 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 World Health Organisation recommendations - were banned from the catwalk.

Milan is considering following Madrid's example and today a prominent figure in the Brazilian industry described catwalk models in Britain as "shockingly thin". Silvia Rogar, the fashion feature editor from Brazilian Vogue, said: "Having worked with them I know how many of them are seriously suffering from eating disorders."

However, editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman said on GMTV: "I think we have a very schizophrenic culture. …

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