Models ‘health cert‘ proves unworkable

THE “size zero” debate looks set to resurface at London Fashion Week after a plan to introduce health certificates for models on catwalks was dropped.

The planned requirement for models to obtain a doctor’s certificate proving they were in good health fell through after New York, Paris and Milan said the measure was unworkable.

The British Fashion Council (BFC) drew up the scheme following controversy surrounding the “size zero” debate.

It was one of 14 proposals to come out of the Model Health Inquiry, set up in March last year by the BFC to investigate health problems suffered by models working in the British fashion industry.

The BFC said it is continuing to work towards best practice and giving models better access to health professionals.

A number of other recommendations from the Model Health Inquiry have already been implemented, including banning under-16s from London Fashion Week catwalks and ensuring that the shows have healthy backstage environments for models.

Hilary Riva, chief executive of the BFC, said impracticalities in implementing the health certificate plan, a feeling among models that it discriminated against them and a lack of support from industry bodies in other fashion capitals, caused the plan to be shelved.

The BFC had previously warned that models based overseas could refuse to participate in London Fashion Week if it was the only such event requiring them to have health checks. It was feared that a lack of high-profile catwalk models would in turn discourage designers from showing work.

Under the plan models would have been expected to obtain a health certificate which would have been renewed annually. But the plan would only have applied to catwalk models, who make up only 10% of the modelling population.

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