Two luxury French fashion powerhouses have joined forces to stop using ultra-thin models in catwalk shows and photoshoots. In what is widely being considered a step in the right direction, LVMH and Kering, who between them own Gucci, Saint Laurent, Vuitton et Dior, will stop using size zero (UK size four) models.
They have unveiled a charter “to ensure the wellbeing of models” which will also ban the use of girls under the age of 16 for photoshoots or fashion shows where they’d be representing adults. On the eve of the start of New York Fashion Week, it was announced that these new measures were being taken to look after models. However, the companies are also addressing criticism they’ve faced that the fashion industry encourages anorexia and eating disorders. What’s more, last Paris Fashion Week in February, the working conditions of models came under intense scrutiny.
CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault, has said that the company would like to move quickly and react strongly so that things really change. He added that he hopes others in the industry will follow. Antoine Arnault, a member of the LVMH board of directors and son of CEO Bernard Arnault, says the charter will “change things completely.” Earlier this year, France banned the use of unhealthily thin models as part of a new law targeting “unrealistic body images” and eating disorders. Models are now required to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting to their overall health and proving their body mass index (BMI) sits within a healthy range in order to work. What’s more, French magazines are legally obliged to indicate when a photo of a model has been retouched or photoshopped, or else they face a €37,500 ((£34340.62) fine.
This is despite the fact that two years ago, then Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman spoke out to say she does not believe using skinny models encourages eating disorders in girls or gives them body confidence issues. But it’s safe to say the move by LVMH and Kering has been widely met with praise. “Other fashion houses must start following suit,” one person reacted on Twitter. “A deadly, disgusting trend that has no place in fashion.”