'Drawing a Line in the Sand' on Health & Beauty in France
If you haven't heard by now you are sure to learn shortly of the recent shockwave sent through French Fashion culture in December 2015 when parliament passed its first law banning 'excessively' thin models from the fashion industry. Brands/agents will face large fines (up to 70,000 euros) and jail time (minimum 6 months) if they hire models that don't meet the new industry standards to work. Models will be expected to have proper documentation from a licensed physician indicating they have a BMI of 18 (or higher) and are deemed in 'good health' overall. But that's not all, any photographs taken of models that have been altered - in any way - will be required to state so.
As you can imagine, this has created quite a stir in the industry considering most serious fashion houses, designers and photographers consider France to be the 'Mecca' of Fashion. Many believe that French law will have global impact considering most successful models and photographers work internationally. France is not alone in this endeavor to change the industries standard on health & beauty. Italy and Spain, and most recently Israel have all passed similar laws imposing similar guidelines. The big difference is the French law actually has punishable offenses versus industry guidelines so its expected to promote 'real' change.
Many US designers, photographers and agents are speaking out hailing on both sides of fence.
Some say, "they've gone to far and this is fundamentally backward, every photo is retouched" and others state, "it's about time and we have an obligation to show women that being healthy is chic".
So whether you are for or against this change, it is sure to spark a conversation and get people talking and most importantly thinking about body image and being healthy. Truly these laws will require many changes for models, agents, designers, fashion houses, stylists, editors, and photographers. And these changes will be costly. Compliance will be costly, but perhaps not as costly should they defy the new law.
At No Square Peg, we believe its important to cast healthy models that are of all shapes and sizes, showing women who are beautiful not just on the outside but also on the inside. It's important that we portray women in a realistic light, and encourage women to feel beautiful just as you are. Will our ideals ever translate to the rest of the fashion industry? I really don't know but it's certainly not a reason to NOT take a stand for change. I will say, as costly as this change will be for the Global Fashion community, I believe the requirements are a step in the right direction. The efforts of the French are noble and I am excited to see the global community draw a line in the sand on health & beauty.
All photos courtesy of Source: Style.com / Photo: Tommy Ton