- The fashion industry has been criticized for glamorizing stick-thin figures. By regulating the look of models, the fashion industry can promote a healthier ideal.
- Eating disorders are fueled by an intense demand for thinness. The non-profit group Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders Inc. targets certain professions as being highly susceptible to eating disorders and one of these is modeling.
- Images influence our perception of body ideals, so by shifting the focus away from skeletal runway models it is assumed that body image ideals will become more realistic for women and girls.
- The runway is just a small part of what shapes body image ideals: without the ban extending to magazines and other media, who frequently feature editorial (not runway) photos of ultra-thin models and celebrities, the runway rules won't be effective.
- The average model is 5'9" with a weight of 110 lbs, which results in a BMI of 16, according to ABCNews.com.
- Although Milan is threatening to ban designers who don't hold to its size regulations for underweight models and Madrid spelled out specifics (under an 18 body mass index is unacceptable), the U.S. has produced fuzzy guidelines (More sleep? Healthy snacks?) without any enforceable numbers or penalties to designers or models.
- Ultimately, it will be up to designers -- who choose the models for advertising -- and consumers -- who buy the magazines and clothes -- to impact the industry. Designers would need to shun the waifs and consumers would need to boycott labels and media that use images of unrealistically thin models.
Where It Stands
The February shows (for Fall 2007) in the major fashion capitols will be the first where the new guidelines will be implemented for Milan and New York.
You Decide: Is the Fashion Industry Responsible for Regulating a Underweight Models?