France has just taken a step for women’s health, and one giant leap for a more wholesome standard of beauty. In order to combat the rise of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia in the fashion industry, the fashion capital last week passed a law to officially ban excessively skinny models from working in the country.
Now, models must produce a medical certificate indicating their BMI and overall health, an improvement from a potential bill that was in discussions earlier this year where BMI was the only defining factor.
They’re very serious about this too — modelling agencies and fashion houses found violating the ruling can be charged with six months’ imprisonment and a fine of £75,000, or approximately S$115,000.
Another regulation to be passed by January 2017 calls for commercial photographs that have been altered to make models look skinnier or bigger to be accompanied with a ‘Retouched Photograph’ disclaimer. Violations of this will result in a fine of £37,500. No small sum for being too trigger-happy with the Liquify function on Photoshop, eh?
However, France isn’t the first to pass a law banning unhealthy models — Italy has also set up strict standards for fashion models, along with Israel and Spain. Meanwhile, in America and Denmark, private organisations like the CFDA and Danish Fashion Ethical Charter work with individual fashion companies to cultivate healthy practices and the fair treatment of models in the industry.
Still, there’s no doubt that a global fashion capital such as France moving to actively make fashion for all women of every size is a momentous step. Hopefully, the rest of the world will catch on soon too.