Model Size Restrictions Changing Thanks to Israel’s New Law

TLV fashion week

        Tel Aviv Fashion Week


The less than recent outcry for healthier models has finally been recognized. On January 1st, Israel passed a new law that bans too-skinny models from appearing in the media. Specifically, any model with a BMI (body-mass index) less than 18.5 is restricted from being publicized in advertisements and runway. A 5’8” adult female, which is essentially the shortest height for a runway model, must be a minimum of 120 pounds to have a BMI of 18.5.

The ban also includes the “Photoshop Law” where publications are obliged to reveal any computer alterations imposed on the models to make them look skinnier than they really are.

Response to this new law is positive and supporters say that it will encourage the use of healthier models locally, but internationally as well.

Ana Carolina Reston, Brazilian model, died at 26 in 2006

Ana Carolina Reston, Brazilian model, died at 26 in 2006. She was 5’8 and was 88 pounds when she died.

eliana ramos

Eliana Ramos, a Uruguayan model, died at age 18 in 2007. Her older sister, Luisel Ramos, died 6 months before her as a result of an eating disorder as well.

hila elmalich2

Hila Elmalich, an Israeli model, died in 2007, weighing less than 60 pounds.


And it’s true. With deaths related to eating disorders becoming more frequent, the public agitation and demand for healthier models is becoming louder. Fortunately, the law has made an impact on fashion capitals. Countries including Spain and Italy have put the same guidelines into their fashion weeks. In Spain, no model with a BMI less than 18 is allowed on the runway, and in Italy it is 18.5.

Madrid Fashion Week

          Madrid Fashion Week


Unfortunately, this change can’t be expected to happen as quickly for other fashion capitals such as Britain and the States. Editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, was disappointed when her efforts in requesting that leading fashion designers make larger sample sizes failed. Similarly, Steven Kolb, chief executive of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) stated that they are simply “creating awareness” and are not there to “mandate or enforce”. He ensured that there are no plans to make a law banning restrictions on models’ BMIs either.

But we’re off to a great start. With a trend that had soon become an epidemic no one saw an end too, the positive change in model sizes is slow and steady. Although curvy girls might not be the majority on the runway just yet, it is clear that the voluptuous body ideal from the 1950’s is creeping its way back in to style.

x, mother niche


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