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France May Ban Too-Skinny Models

It's likely to pass a bill that will require models to present a Body Mass Index medical certificate to certify they are within the healthy weight range.
By Catalogue staff, 19 Mar 2015
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France May Ban Too-Skinny Models
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On Monday, France's health minister said the government will likely back a bill that will ban too-thin models from French runways, also potentially fining the fashion houses who hire them and sending their modelling agents to prison.

The law would require models to be a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18, which is about 54kg for someone who is 170cm tall.

Socialist lawmaker Olivier Veran told The Parisien the law would require models to undergo regular weight checks, fines of $79, 000 for breaches, and up to six months in jail for staff involved in breaches. The law would also ban pro-anorexia websites.

If this law passes, France will join Italy and Spain as countries who have taken action to stop models being too thin.

In 2006, Spain banned too-thin models at Madrid Fashion Week and ended up turning away 30% of models, many of whom had taken part in previous fashion weeks. In the same year, Italy's government and fashion industry committed to removing unhealthily thin models from their runways.

These initiatives by Spain and Italy arguably occurred after two high profile fashion models died from anorexia. Ana Carolina Reston walked for the likes of Armani and Dior before dying in 2006 from complications arising from Anorexia Nervosa. In August of the same year, Luisel Ramos suffered a heart attack during a fashion week show, thought to be the result of anorexia.

Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week takes place next month. The only rules guiding body size at the event are an an ambiguously-worded set of guidelines on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weekend website, and a set of guidelines that are sent to the designers participating in the event. In the former guidelines, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weekend explains they do not need to impose body standards because, "We are fortunate, given the professional nature of modelling agencies in Australia, who have a strict code of self regulation in respect to the care and governance of the models they represent".

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