Fit for Fashion?


"As you know in fashion, one day you're in. And the next day, you're out"

These famous words uttered by the host of the hit television series Project Runway. However, this statement may be especially true in France where fashion models who are excessively thin are banned. BBC News reported on 18th December 2015 that models will need a doctor’s certificate stating that their health is “compatible with the practice of the profession”,

France is not the first country that imposed this bill but rather followed in the footsteps of Italy, Spain and Israel who have also legislated on underweight models. This scenario sheds some light on the not-so- foreign topic of Anorexia nervosa or simply referred to as Anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder whereby people keep their body weight as low as possible. It is also classified as a mental disorder.

They do this by limiting their food intake as much as possible, exercising excessively or forcing themselves to vomit. An example of a well-documented case of anorexia can be seen through the life of Isabelle Caro, a French model and actress, who became well known after her vertebrae and facial bones were showing in a campaign she did called “no anorexia”. Isabelle Caro has said that she was a victim of Anorexia since the age of 13 and said it was because of her troubled childhood.


Isabelle Caro

Isabelle Caro died of Anorexia in 2010 aged 28

The lightest weight that she has ever reached was recorded at 25 kilograms at a height of 1.65 meters. She was hospitalized for the first time when she was 20 years old. Isabelle appeared on National Geographic Channel’s Taboo: Beauty, which was shot two months prior to her death. She died when she was just 28 years old. Celebrities who have faced anorexia includes “Pretty Little Liars” star Troian Bellisario and “Addams Family” star Christina Ricci.

The causes of anorexia are not known. Some components indicate genetic features such as anorexia occurring in identical twins more often than non-identical twins. Moreover, it occurs more often among those who are involved in events, activities or sports that value thinness such as modeling, dancing and high level athletics. Those who are affected by anorexia are usually girls and women. However, in recent years, it has also become more prevalent among boys and men. This illness develops first around the age of 16 to 17, on average.

Therefore, seeing that many countries have taken part in the move to ban models that are too thin is seen as a step towards combating this disease. It allows proper evaluation of a person’s weight whereby they are ensured to meet specific guidelines before carry on with their profession. It also gives way for intervention and help in the case that a model might be anorexic as those affected often don't seek help. This is because they don’t recognize that they have a problem or are too afraid to address the problem.

In most cases, treatment involves a combination of treating the underlying psychological problem and specifically tailored advice on nutrition and eating so as to gain weight back in a safe manner.   Medications do not help in weight gain but they can be used in the treatment of depression and anxiety which are usually associated with Anorexia.

The need to conform to the expectations of society is what pressurizes a lot of young adults these days to chase impossible standards of beauty. The amount of money spent on cosmetic surgery, Botox injections and whitening creams are mostly a result of insecurities based on the European or American fashion magazines.

Having said this, progress is visible as of late where models that are “curvier” or “fuller” are given chances to make a name for themselves as well. An example would be Whitney Thompson, 28, a plus size model who is also the winner of the tenth season of “America’s Next Top Model”.  This sends out a positive message to women and men alike to embrace and love themselves. Shaming a person because they do not fit into the typical blue-eyed, blonde haired category is a thing of the past and the fact remains that everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way.

Whitney Thompson

Whitney Thompson, winner of of America's Next Top Model cycle 10

More countries should follow in the footsteps of France and their counterparts in banning models who are evaluated or examined as unhealthy to enforce a healthier and more positive scene in the fashion industry. Do you guys agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

by Kevin

An average 22 year old with an unquenchable thirst for adventure and new experiences. Living life as it comes :) View all articles by Kevin.


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