a uk political party is demanding an end to fashion's obsession with extreme thinness

The Women's Equality Party is calling for an end to dangerously small sample sizes and compulsory body image education in schools.

by i-D Staff
Sep 6 2016, 1:48pm

To coincide with London Fashion Week, the Women's Equality Party is launching a radical campaign that aims to address models' health and what the platform sees as the fashion world's unrealistic body image ideals. Supported i-D contributor and Kingston University professor of diversity, Caryn Franklin, plus size model Jada Sezer, and body image activist Rosie Nelson, the initiative is demanding an end to dangerously small sample sizes. The party is also calling for a minimum body mass index (BMI) for models.

Rather than banning models with a BMI of below 18.5 entirely — which discriminates against those healthy models who are naturally very tall and very thin — the campaign proposes that all models who are under 18.5 be seen by a medical professional who will judge whether they are well enough to be employed by an agency or brand. Those found to be unhealthily thin will be flagged and encouraged to seek further help.

If these demands are not met, WEP leader Sophie Walker is planning to ask London Mayor Sadiq Khan to withdraw funding for next season's fashion week, The Guardian reports. The party is asking for designers showing at LFW to include at least two sample sizes per collection, one of which must be a UK size 12 or over. Additionally, WEP is calling for fashion magazines to produce at least one plus-size feature per issue, and demanding that body image awareness become a compulsory part of health education in schools.

Walker also plans to ask Maria Miller, chair of the Women and Equalities Commission, to stage a hearing in which designers will be asked to address why their clothes are based on what she has described as "an unattainable level of thinness in women." Nine months after the UK's parliamentary inquiry into model health, and with no progressive measures proposed by the government, it's great to see the Women's Equality Party taking action on these important issues.

Related: Will banning super-skinny models solve fashion's body image crisis?


Text Tish Weinstock
Image via Agnes Hedengård

rosie nelson