MILAN (Reuters) – The Italian fashion capital Milan has formally barred ultra-skinny and under-age models ahead of its February catwalk shows, as the fashion world comes under pressure to promote a healthier image.
The agreement signed on Monday between the city and its powerful fashion industry bans models under 16 and those with a body mass index of less than 18.5 from Milan’s shows.
The accord also includes courses on healthy eating and exercise and calls for a variety of clothing sizes in shows.
“The agreement is the result of a common effort … to share and to communicate to our young people the importance of positive models of living,” Milan mayor Letizia Moratti said in a statement.
Body mass index is the ratio of weight to the square of height — so that a 1.73 m (5 foot 8 inch) model who weighed less than 55.4 kg (122 lb) would be barred.
The accord is broadly in line with a manifesto issued by the national government and Italy’s fashion chiefs on Saturday, and due to be signed this week.
Spain barred models below a certain weight from Madrid’s shows in September. This month Brazil launched a campaign to ban under-age, underweight models from shows in response to the death of a Brazilian model from complications due to anorexia.
Milan’s fashion houses at first resisted calls to follow the Spanish example. Mario Boselli, the head of Italy’s National Fashion Chamber, said in September that only “maybe one girl in a hundred” of the models on show could be defined as too skinny.
But Boselli, whose lobby group represents such big names as Armani, Versace and Prada, agreed to work with the government on a self-regulatory code of good practice.