London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
September 12, 2007
Question By: 
Dee Doocey
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Let me tell you a couple of gems of recommendations in the interim report. One is that there should be an education awareness campaign, but probably the pièce de resistance is there should be a campaign to encourage designers to embrace a healthy image. Anyone who has ever worked with designers will tell you that they are almost obsessed with showing their garments on models who look like coat hangers, on the basis that they believe that this shows off the garments to perfection. The idea of their stone hearts being melted by a campaign in the press to encourage them to embrace a healthy image is almost laughable if it was not so serious.

The other part of the report that really concerns me is that you are probably aware that eating disorders are classified as a serious mental illness and despite the fact that the College of Psychiatrists backed a BMI (Body Mass Index) ban, this did not make it as a recommendation because, according to the report, others - who are unspecified but no prizes for guessing they probably came from the fashion industry - decided this would be ineffective.

I return to my question; how can you possibly have a responsibility for the health of Londoners and allow this to continue? I understand the dual role of the LDA, but the fact is that one in 40 women suffers from an eating disorder, that goes up to four out of every ten models, and these eating disorders are causing major problems; they are causing osteoporosis, infertility, heart and stomach problems, and surely you have a duty to overrule the LDA and make them rethink this.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for London Fashion Week (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Mary Reilly came to you and she was asked a question and she gave her gut reaction to that, which is one I share. I would be quite happy to ban under-sized models throughout the entire fashion world. However, we are at the margin of determining what happens with London Fashion Week. We could take our money away and have no influence and the thin models will carry on, or we can carry on being involved, pushing the fashion industry in the right direction and hopefully get to a point where very thin models are not allowed on the catwalk.

I took some encouragement from what was reported in the press yesterday. It was in The Evening Standard, but it may very well be true! It was about the agency that had declined to use a model because she was too thin. We can either take our money and go away, which would just undermine our role to try to build London up in this way, or we can keep our money in and keep pushing them in the right direction. It is a trade off.

Dee Doocey (AM): Yes, but you are not pushing them in the right directions.

Mayor (Ken Livingstone): We are pushing them in the right directions.