One step forward, two steps back for London's approach to size zero
Kimberley Foster writes...
It was with a heavy heart yesterday that I reported on the BFC's decision to back down over its stand on 'size zero', following a lack of international support.
While there is no denying that the measures put in place by the Model Health Inquiry have gone some way into tackling this issue, such as banning models under 16 from London Fashion Week shows (the knock-on effect travelling all the way to Australia), and ensuring that backstage is kept healthy (trust me, I saw those sandwich tables) their announcement to abandon their plans and handball responsibility over to the U.K.'s Association of Model Agents (AKA) still doesn't sit right. You might say that while we have won the battle, we are a long way off winning the war.
If we look at the practical aspect of models providing Model Health Certificates (MHC) from their doctors, I'd have to agree with the BFC chief executive, Hilary Riva, when she says that they aren't "workable".
Not only are they hideously expensive, £150 to £500 each in some cases, but it does pose concerns regarding models who might avoid London in favour of Paris or New York, where the same rules do not apply. This coupled with strong opposition from international counterparts, and London could be potentially placed in a very weak position. And let's face it, we need all the support that we can get.
"We looked at things like doctor's certification and body mass index and decided that, for us, it wasn't an appropriate recommendation," said Steven Kolb, executive director of the New York council. "We felt it was wrong to force a girl to have a physical examination, especially because the signs of a problem aren't always obvious."
Instead the BFC, which isn't a regulatory body, has recommended that the AMA take over the reins to develop a plan to safeguard the health of models. Whether the AMA answers this call is as yet unknown, but regardless, until there is a united international stand on this issue, sadly a solution seems unlikely.