Under the new law, fashion houses and modelling agencies could face jail time of up to six months and huge fines starting at €37,500 (that's upwards of AUD$56,000) for employing underweight models for their shows and campaigns.
The bill requires models to present a medical certificate proving their health is "compatible with the practice of the profession" in order to work, with doctors being asked to assess whether models are fit to work based on their weight, age and body shape on a case-by-case basis. It's a more personalised version of the laws already in place in Spain, Italy and Israel, which all go by the blanket rule that models with a Body Mass Index of lower than 18 aren't permitted to work. When France previously tried to pass a similar BMI-based bill they sparked protests from the fashion-focused country's modelling agencies.
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The new law also stipulates that any image that's been photoshopped to make a model appear "narrower or wider" must be clearly labelled as a retouched photograph, with fines from €37,500 for any infringements. Why the sudden action? There are up to 40,000 people in France currently battling anorexia and French medical professionals have pinpointed thin models as a contributing factor. But will the bill trigger meaningful change across the fashion industry? We certainly hope so.