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.