Following a string of scandals over anorexia, France has banned underweight models from catwalks and advertising worldwide.

(TT) As part of a new law targeting “unrealistic body images” french models will now be required to provide a medical certificate which proves that they are fit to work. The models will need to show that their body mass index (BMI) is within healthy range. Fashion agencies that breach the law will be faced with fines of up to €75,000 or imprisonment of up to six months.

Marisol Touraine, minister of social affairs and health, stated that: “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.”

“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 French law stipulates that the doctor’s certificate can go back two years. However, LVMH and Kering – two luxury companies whose fashion labels include Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy revealed a charter which demands that the certificate be no older than six months.

The pair have also banned their designers from using size 32 models (US size zero and UK size four). They also plan to stop hiring girls under 16-years-old and said that the new rules are to “ensure the wellbeing of models.” Furthermore, the document requires under 18 models to have a guardian present at all times and bans the distribution and consumption of alcohol to said models.

In a statement, Kering’s billionaire chairman said: “Respecting the dignity of all women has always been both a personal commitment for me and a priority for Kering as a group. He went on to say that: “We hope to inspire the entire industry to follow suit, thus making a real difference in the working conditions of fashion models industry-wide.”