London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
September 12, 2007
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

It is not just about the young models. It is about young women who are being led in a fashion that has got a number of long-term consequences. We cannot have it both ways; we either do not put a lot of money in so it does not really matter when we have not got much influence and those are the issues ' and I do take the dilemma that you are in seriously, Mr Mayor, about being a world class city and support to the industry. However, unless you make a stance similar to the one you are making on climate change we will never get into a position where this industry takes it more seriously.

Take your money and put it into influencing young fashion designers of the future and those people that will shape the industry in the future, because that would be better than where it is. You cannot keep going on, unless you put some timescale on it, saying, 'Well, we will wait and see about it because they will police themselves'; these people have got no intention of policing themselves. Only a few are being progressive and taking this matter seriously. Others are using and misusing women in a way that is affecting generations of young girls and young women, and it is the young girls that we have got to be actually mindful for and that is why we should take the stance on this issue.

I am not anti-fashion but I do think we have a leadership role here to play and we have got to send a message as you have sent messages on other issues, where others will follow. We should take a moral stance on this issue because of the young people that are involved and because of the young people that will be influenced by people not acting responsibly. If we are not putting a lot in this, let us put the money in and try to persuade otherwise or support the industry in other ways, but make it clear where our stance is.

Go with your gut reaction because people's lives are at stake here, and that is the seriousness of it. It is not a few models. Yes, they are in the front line of this, but there is a whole generation of young girls shaped by magazines and the fashion industry about what their size should be, and that is something we can't stand idly by. We need to make a stance and you should be leading the way.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The two points that have been put by Damian [Hockney] and Len [Duvall] perfect encapsulate this debate. My advice is that we should carry on this pressure. I am not wholly persuaded of that and I think what I would say, given the strength of feeling, is that we will see how this goes over the next year. If the report, as Dee [Doocey] fears, turns out to be rubbish we will have to revisit that. If we do not make some progress I recognise that I will be under huge pressure to stop the funding, but let us see what pressure we can mount over these coming months, what changes we can get as we build up to next year's Fashion Week.

If we feel at the end of the day that we have not got there, I would be prepared to take the advice of the Assembly on whether or not the grant should continue. Let us give it a year to see whether we can make progress, let the fashion industry know that we will then discuss this a year hence, and if they have not been able to persuade us, I would be prepared to accept the majority view of the Assembly on this. Let them know that and let them know they are going to remain at the centre of the debate.