Friday, December 22, 2006

A License to Walk

A license to walk the runway? Yes, you heard right. Hot of the heels of Spain's new regulation that models must have a BMI higher than 18.5, La Camera della Moda Nazionale, Italy's governing fashion body, is attempting to introduce a new system for the Milan runways. If they are successful, the girls will soon need a license to model. The license would ensure that the models are “healthy” and would be issued after a thorough assessment by the CDMN, the ASSEM (the Association of Fashion Services) and a committee made up of doctors and other experts.

The main rules thus far are that models will have to be at least 16-years-old and they will have to have a BMI of at least 18.5 (this number was set by the World Health Organization as a healthy/normal index). However, and here is a foreseeable loophole that will sure become abused, geographical and ethnic factors would be taken into consideration in determining a healthy BMI, if models do not meet the 18.5 cut-off.

I think this is a step forward in a positive direction for the industry. Whatever the inconveniences will be of imposing said rules I think that it is completely worth it. Fashion is such a strong influencing force in today's society for everyone but of course it is most influencing to young teens and if it is not positive it could have severe detrimental effects, as we all witnessed early this month with Ana Carolina Reston.

If the industry’s governing bodies do not start taking preventative measures, not only will an influx of models be adopting these "aesthetically inclined" diseases but so will more young women aspiring to be like them.

This does not mean that the industry should promote 200+ lbs. women either, as that is unhealthy on the opposite side of the scale. An average body type would be ideal. Yet, what is average?

I think that average is anything more than these stick thin models storming down the runways. Robin Givhan, fashion writer of the Washington Post put it best. She says many models today are "pale, almost to the point of translucent, and astonishingly thin. They look positively rickety. Seeing one in a swimsuit can make you shudder. They are not sexy or even particularly pretty. How can they be when they look as though the life has been sucked out of them?"

She went on to say that "if the industry does not think carefully about the current aesthetic…what comes next could be truly ghastly." And I completely agree with her. Hopefully, with Spain and now Milan, the industry is on its way towards promoting a healthier aesthetic.

Personally, I think we need more Catherine Zeta Jones and Beyoncé types on the runway.



pina said...

I certainly agree with recruiting "healthier looking models"!. However, until the clothing that fashion designers put out in the world really fit "true body types", it would be difficult to achieve. Some clothing are made for the super skinny and sleek unfortunately and makes society feel fat and undesirable......

Jamee said...

I couldn;t agree more with this article these super skinny models are causing young girls to become anorexic. and that could lead to death it is time the industry realizes that there are more average women in the world than skinnny ones and they should also put them on the runnways to promote average fashions because lets face it who really wants to look like this anyways?

BM said...

It's about time hunh girls!!!! To all us women with the J-lo butts and Beyonce's sexy curves!!!! I love it...Things are finally changing!!

Anonymous said...

Good article... I saw something about that recently too. I like it. Think it's a great idea. For the models' benefit too

Tanya said...

I think it's a great concept but I don't believe the BMI method can be used as a reliable source of detecting how "healthy" we are. Body weight vs health varies for each person, it is dependant on bone/muscle structure. Therefore I don't think this method is effective and I don't believe putting a number such as 18.5 will really stick in the industry.

However, I do agree that something must be done with today's ultra-thin image portrayed by the beauty/fashion industry, of today. Anorexia and Bulemia has never been so common among women and men over the past 5 years.

I am excited by this movement from Spain, and I really do hope that fashion returns to models such as Cindy, Niki, Elle, Tyra and Naomi who were the true super models of our time!