The promotion of French fashion is about to change dramatically starting this week. A French law containing safeguards for the health of fashion models is kicking in this week, but major industry players have decided to go one step further. Fashion conglomerates LVMH and Kering, which account for Gucci, YSL, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and loads more high fashion brands, have pledged to no longer use models below a size 34 in France.
Size 34 is equivalent to size 0 in the United States, which is usually considered underweight — something that carries real health risks. The pledge is part of a charter put forward by the two companies, which also disallows the use of girls under 16 to pose as adults.
This goes past a French law that was passed in 2015 and going into effect this month. That law requires models to have a doctor’s note, good for two years, that certifies that they are at a healthy weight. Having a BMI requirement was under consideration as well, but was scrapped as it was seen as redundant.
In light of the law (and common decency, should the companies be concerned about the health of their models), the move doesn’t seem too bold — few doctors serious about their profession would issue such a doctor’s note for anyone that thin. The pledge would head off any concerns over the fashion giants finding doctors more amenable to their interests, though, so the new charter does have its significance.
The industry is still replete with objectification of models, but progress is progress. That anything on this front is happening is incredibly good news — fewer dangerously thin models will hopefully lead to fewer cases of body dysmorphic disorder among models and the girls and women who see them in ads.