It seems as if the pressure to ban the current breed of size-double zero supermodels is finally catching on in America. Last Thursday, New York legislators passed the “skinny models” bill, which will bring health and industry experts to the table to create standards and guidelines for underage performers and models to prevent eating disorders.
This advisory board’s suggestions on issues like employment restrictions, weight or BMI requirements and medical screenings will be passed onto the Commissioner of Labor. Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera, chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition, said he wrote the legislation after the deaths of two South American models from eating disorders. Read his press release here.
New York’s legislation comes on the heels of guidelines implemented by other fashion meccas, Madrid and Milan, to bar unhealthy, skeletal models from the runway. The Anglo-Dutch consumer group Unilever just recently announced its decision not to use models with a BMI of less than 18.5. Read our discussion of these issues here.
The Council on Fashion Designers of America, currently headed by wrap-dress queen Diane von Furstenberg, has their own guidelines for models and says it would like legislators stay out of industry affairs. Rivera said the fashion industry is not capable of policing itself.
“The President of the Council of Fashion Designers was quoted as saying that the government would be involved in regulating models size ‘over my dead body,’” Rivera said. “We don’t want anymore dead bodies, that’s the point of my legislation.”
Also under consideration by New York’s legislature is Res. 0692-2007, which calls upon sponsors of New York Fashion Week to adopt a healthy models education campaign and ban models with a BMI of less than 18.5 from strutting the runway.
According to the NY Legislature website, the bill was introduced in February 2007 and referred to the council’s Committee of Health. We’ll continue tracking this bill and report on its progress.