When supermodels like Kate Moss are quoted as saying, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, little do they realise the disastrous ripple effect their statements cause. However, the fashion industry’s negative reputation of affecting eating disorders and low self esteem among models, is finally taking a turn for the better as steps are being taken to combat prevailing body issues.
Early last year, France passed a law to ban excessively thin models, and expose fashion houses who hire these models. This measure was taken as part of a campaign against anorexia, by the President of France, Francois Hollande’s government.
In addition, lawmakers made it mandatory that any retouched photo of a model must carry a message stating that the photo has been altered.
In the United Kingdom, Heidy Rehman, founder of British fashion label Rose and Willard, has demanded that models sign a contract with a non-negotiable clause that requires models to eat – while being watched.
“Yes, it’s a form of nannying, but we feel we have a responsibility to protect these young women from an industry which we believe can leave them exploited and puts them under pressure to starve themselves and damage their health and well-being,” said Rehman.
He also told Bénédicte Earl of The Sunday Times, “The model has to not just eat a meal but eat it in our presence. She’s not going to get away with eating a slice of cucumber or throwing it away and saying ‘I’ll eat it later’,” he said.
Alongside this, a parliamentary inquiry is set to conclude that models under the age of 18 should be banned from the catwalk, since they are more susceptible to negative aspects of the fashion industry such as eating disorders and sexual abuse, reported The Sunday Times.
Sofia Mechetner, age 15, was barred from British catwalks when she caused outrage over wearing a sheer dress for fashion house Dior. MP’s believe that banning younger models will also reduce the pressure to lose weight for older models, who have to compete with younger, skinnier counterparts.