In Brief

French fashion giants ban size zero models

The owners of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior have signed up to a new charter

Two of fashion's biggest and best-known companies have announced they will stop hiring 'size zero' models as part of a new charter developed in response to continued claims that the industry encourages eating disorders.

French companies Kering and LVMH - which own Gucci, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior - have said the charter, which "guarantees the well-being of models" and forbids the hiring of girls under 16, will go further than current French legislation.

A 2015 law requires requires models to provide a recent doctor's note attesting to the their health, based on age, weight and body shape. The proposal to include a minimum body mass index was dropped after industry pressure.

Critics argue that catwalk models promote an unhealthy and unrealistic body image, but "fashion insiders have long said that clothes hang and drape better on tall, androgynous women, while Western cultures often associate thinness with wealth, youth and desirability," reports Reuters.

Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault said he hoped the move, which means models must be bigger than a French size 32 for women, which corresponds to a UK size six or US size zero, "would inspire the whole industry to follow suit, this making a real difference in the working conditions of fashion models industry-wide".

Israel, Italy and Spain are also introducing protective measures. In Britain, the Advertising Standards Authority recently banned an Yves Saint Laurent ad that featured a very thin model whose ribcage was showing.

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