On size zero and modeling
Louise Livesey // 9 September 2008
Londonist has an interview with London Assembly member Dee Doocey about the British Fashion Council’s u-turn over issuing certificates proving that models’ BMI is healthy.
Why are the younger, up and coming designers more likely to be in agreement with the recommendation to ban size zero?
The younger designers are more independent; they have less feathers to ruffle if they challenge the way things work. For the more established designers, there is more to lose. If the top fashion editors, designers and so on say ‘I want size zero’ then that’s what they’ll get, and no one is prepared to challenge that. Even some of the top designers would agree, but it seems that no one is prepared to be the first person to rock the boat – everyone is too frightened. The thing is, we have never been about big names in London – we’ve always produced great talent in a grassroots sense, and that’s why it is so important that we take a stance on this. Madrid and Milan banned size zero models in 2006. London should be leading way on this issue.
The BFC at first said the recommendation was ‘eminently sensible’, but then seemed to change their mind. What accounted for this U-turn?
Once again, it’s all about money. Hilary Riva [chief executive of the BFC]’s open letter to the industry outlined unhappiness about the recommendations from a few individuals – certain designers, casting agencies, buyers and so on. There would be models who couldn’t be used during Fashion Week, and this would certainly upset some parties. However, the independent Model Health Inquiry lead by Baroness Kingsmill was extremely thorough and took six months to complete. It took a large body of evidence from across the industry, from models, bookers, designers, health experts and so on, and what was highlighted was the vulnerability of professional models. The BFC heard whisperings that implementing the recommendation from the inquiry would not be well received, and backed out. Asking these people if they want the recommendation is like asking a turkey if it is happy about Christmas – if its not in their interests, of course they will not agree.