France has made a gigantic step towards a healthier and more inclusive fashion industry by banning the use of extremely thin models.
A law has come into effect that requires models to provide a doctor’s certificate of overall physical health, paying special attention to their Body Mass Index (BMI), which measures their weight in relation to their height.
The aim of the law is to tackle the source of eating disorders head on by combatting inaccessible beauty standards and body image.
From 1 October, digitally altered photos will also have to be clearly labelled so that consumers know when a model’s appearance has been airbrushed or manipulated.
The final version of the bill, which was backed by MPs in 2015, will allow doctors to decide whether models are healthy enough to work. There was a suggestion that a minimum BMI should be set, but that was later omitted from the final version.
Employers found to be breaking this law could be charged £63,500 (75,000 Euros) and face a sentence of up to six months in jail.
“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour,” France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, said in a statement on Friday.
France follows Italy, Spain and Israel in legislation for underweight models. The question is, when will Britain follow?