Just in time for New York Fashion Week, French Fashion giants Kering and LVMH pledged to stop hiring size zero and underage models. Luxury labels under these two major fashion houses, including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, will no longer feature “excessively thin” women under a French size 34 or US size XS in advertising or on the catwalk. In addition, young women under 16 will no longer be permitted to model adult fashions at photo shoots or events.
Setting a new standard in the fashion industry
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Antoine Arnault of LVMH cited the “well-being of models” as a reason for the pledge to stop hiring size zero and underage young women. The new policy from the French Fashion giants is also compliant with a French law for fashion houses that passed earlier this year.
Under the new legislation, models are required to submit documentation from a physician to their employers proving that they are at a suitable BMI and healthy enough to work.
Fashion advertising also took a hit from the French legislation. Images that utilize photoshop to enhance the thinness of already-starving supermodels are required to be labeled as “retouched photographs” to relieve the pressure on young, impressionable women to be thin.
The fashion industry is notorious for promoting an unrealistic body image. Androgynous, underweight women are traditionally chosen for the catwalk under the philosophy that clothes drape most attractively on their body type.
A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders this year revealed that it is common for women in the fashion industry to feel pressured by their employers to lose weight, often resulting in disordered eating or unhealthy weight loss. Researchers found that minimum BMI restrictions, like those imposed in France, have a minimal impact on these pressures.
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