Go Forth and Thin No More: Clothing Design Takes a Stand

by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

September 27, 2006

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Madrid has taken the bold and some say foolish step of banning bone-thin models from the catwalk during Spain's version of fashion week, Pasarela Cibeles. A spokesman for the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain said, "We want models to project an image of beauty and health and shun a gaunt, emaciated look."

Will fashion design school students, the clothing design professionals of the future, change the way they develop their designs? Perhaps fashion design school professors will have to approach clothing design construction in a new way. There's a certain body type that most designers envision when designing their clothes, and most of the time it's not a size 12.

According to the new fashion standards, Spain's own supermodel Esther Canadas would be excluded from walking the Madrid catwalk. So also would Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen, Elle MacPherson, and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. The determination is made by recording the models' Body Mass Index, or BMI. The models must have a BMI of at least 18 to strut the stage. Medical personnel will be on hand backstage before the shows to check the BMI of every model.

Modeling agencies and fashion designers are outraged. Agencies feel like they should be able to hire whomever they want and designers feel like they should be able to choose the models that will best showcase their clothing designs. Those responsible for the ban on skinny models insist it's a matter of public health, much like the United States government's growing concern over the obesity epidemic in the U.S.


About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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