France has now banned unhealthily thin models from the catwalk

Smart move

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Smart move

In a groundbreaking move, France has now officially banned the use of unhealthily thin fashion models from mags and the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week.

Models will now need to provide a doctor’s certificate to prove they’re healthy enough to work, based on their weight, the age and body shape.

Doctors will also look at their BMI, though that’s not the deciding factor, and they will look at their age and general health to spot eating disorders.

Plus, from October, any pics that have been modified will have to be marked ‘photography retouchée’ aka retouched photograph to offer complete transparency.

France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, said, ‘Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour.’

She carried on, ‘These two texts aim to act on body image in society to avoid the promotion of inaccessible beauty ideals and to prevent anorexia in young people. The objective is also to protect the health of a sector of the population particularly at risk – models.’

The law was originally passed by the National Assembly in 2015 but has only now come into effect. Any employer breaking the law could be fined up to €75,000 (about £63,500) and faces up to six months in jail.

Anorexia affects 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90% of which are women, and this will hopefully help reduce this number.

France follows in the footsteps of Italy, Spain and Israel, and that now makes two major Fashion Week players on board with a healthier body image.

Time will tell whether the UK and US follow suit.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.