Kering and LVMH: A Step Forward for Fashion?

Kering and LVMH: A Step Forward for Fashion?


No matter where you fall in the fashion divide, it was heartening to hear that Kering and LVMH—the parent houses of brands Dior, Kenzo, Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs—have decided to ban the use of models under size 34 (UK size 6 and US size 0-2). They also banned hiring girls under the age of 16 to pose as adult models.

Kering and LVMH also pledged to only work with models who can provide a doctor's certificate obtained less than six months before a photo shoot or fashion show, and promised to have a psychologist available during their work.

Says Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault, “We hope to inspire the entire industry to follow suit, thus making a real difference in the working conditions of fashion models industry-wide.”

Israel banned extremely thin models in 2013, while other countries, such as Italy and Spain, rely on voluntary codes of conduct.

Criticism of the Fashion Industry

The move came after many people criticized the fashion industry (specifically the luxury fashion houses) for promoting dangerous ideals of thinness, and thus encouraging eating disorders in models and in the population at large.

A study by researchers at Northeastern University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and The Model Alliance, an advocacy group for models in the American fashion industry, found that unhealthy weight-control behaviors were rife amongst the models surveyed. Many reported dieting (71%), skipping meals (56%), fasts/detoxes (52%), use of diet pills (23%), self-induced vomiting (8%), and the use of Ritalin (16%) or cocaine (7%).

Rachel Rodgers, PhD, principle investigator and professor at Northeastern University, says: "Most of these models are teens or young adults, so being dangerously underweight and having an eating disorder can have serious consequences on growth and development that affect them for life.”

Diversity in Fashion: Still a Dream?

In an open letter to New York Fashion Week, current models and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) cited the study as proof that the industry needs to change to promote health and diversity.

The study made recommendations including the use of sample sizes above 0-2 and the end of modeling “exclusivity contracts”, which give agents too much power over models’ livelihoods.

The study found the unrealistic ideals transmitted by the media to be a public health issue, as they promote eating disorders in vulnerable populations.

In an interview with Tribune, former top model Victoire Macon Dauxerre talked about sipping diet drinks and eating three apples a day as she battled anorexia. Dauxerre quit modeling at 23, the height of her career, and recounts how miserable she was, even while being admired for her dream life. A letter written by her was read in the French parliament, and helped sway the vote in favor of better protection for models, particularly underage models.

“Creators only want androgynous body shapes.” She wrote. “They don’t want to rejoice in a woman’s body.”

Luxury fashion houses have been struggling financially of late, and the use of unrealistic standards could be their way of maintaining an aura of exclusiveness to increase sales.



Nezha | The Edge Blog


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