The British Fashion Council is giving up a good part of its fight against skinny models. The organization had been championing health certificates for runway strutters but is backing off the push to make them mandatory out of fear models would boycott London Fashion Week. Also, the world’s other fashion capitals refuse to support the plan. The Times reports the BFC will announce plans to drop the initiative in an open letter to the industry today.
The modeling industry felt the health-certificate plan was discriminatory and didn’t like how it only applied to runway models, which make up just 10 percent of the modeling population. Some models also didn’t like that the plan would require them to spend $500 to $1,000 each year to renew their health certificates, “privately” arguing they make way less than that per show. Furthermore, Paris, Milan, and New York refused to implement health certificates. Paris Fashion Week officials said such a plan “lay outside its remit”; Milan just prefers to do its own thing when it comes to regulating skinny; and New York questioned whether U.S. labor laws would allow something like mandatory health certificates. CFDA executive director Stephen Kolb says, “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.”
Since London is kind of an underdog on the international Fashion Week scene, it especially needs the support of other fashion cities for something like this. The BFC has already succeeded in banning models under 16 from walking the runways and banning alcohol backstage, but without the rest of the world in their corner, it’s hard to win the skinny war.