The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

Should Weight Standards for Runway Models in the U.S. Be Enforced?


Behind the glamorous lives and exclusive showings of designer collections, models around the U.S. have struggled to live up to the expectations not only of their agencies, but of society.

April of 2015 brought groundbreaking changes to France’s fashion industry. Under the law of French Parliament, models that are considered “excessively thin” are banned from walking. Agencies can be fined up to $83,000 USD, also facing up to six years in prisonif the new guidelines are broken.

A recent article on CNN states that thin models must provide certification from doctors confirming they are of a healthy weight and have a body mass of at least 18 prior to being hired by the agency.

On top of these new regulations, photographs that have been digitally altered are required to be labeled as so.

However, many agencies and models are not happy with this kind of change. They continue to criticize that measuring BMI is not an accurate way to judge if a model should be walking. Other factors should be put into consideration such as age, height and body shapes.

The bill clearly states, “the appearance of some models helps to spread potentially dangerous stereotypes for fragile populations.”

With France acting as an advocate for regulating model weight, Spain, Italy and Israel have also taken similar steps to ensure that only models of good health should be on the runway.

The CFDA, also known as the Council of Fashion Designers of America is lead by Diane von Furstenberg of DVF. She herself is also a supporter of the bill.

Should we be expecting the U.S. to follow in France’s footsteps? With New York City as an international fashion capital, it’s safe to say a similar bill will try to pass here in the states within the next few years. Is it likely we will make these changes?

Probably not. The CFDA works towards educating its members on how to live a healthy lifestyle and enforce health guidelines to agencies each season, but does not see themselves passing laws to regulate model weight anytime soon.

American supermodel Gigi Hadid has spoken out regarding her often criticized weight. At the start of her career, Gigi was rejected by many agencies, all of which told her she needed to lose weight.

The 5’10, 126 pound model promised never to conform to the norms of the fashion industry.

In an interview with US Weekly, Gigi says, “And that’s always something that I was very strong minded about. I just want to be a healthy role model, and I haven’t swayed from that at all.”

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