Size-zero: Here we go again...

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Super-skinny models dominate the autumn fashion shows, and now MTV is actively promoting competitive dieting. Jonathan Owen and John Sunyer report

As the New York fashion industry prepares to launch new collections starting on Friday, followed by London on 14 September, attention is again drawn to models and their weight.

After the furore at London Fashion Week last spring, with calls for a ban on size-zero models, not only has nothing been done, but the unrealistic super-skinny image is now being positively promoted again internationally.

MTV is under fire for promoting competitive dieting and fuelling the damaging size-zero catwalk culture, following the announcement that it is to launch a controversial new TV show in which girls must lose between 30 and 80lb in the hope of becoming a model. The channel is advertising the show Model Maker with a request for "girls willing to shed the pounds" in a three-month boot camp in a quest to become a "self-confident, high-profile fashion model".

Recruitment adverts – featuring the statement "Women come in all shapes and sizes, but models don't. Skinny, no body fat and size zero are the words and phrases associated with models. Chubby, well-fed, and big-boned are not ..." – have been condemned by eating-disorder charities as promoting extreme dieting.

"This is perpetuating the idea that it is only by becoming as thin as possible that you can be a success," said Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the charity Beat. "It also puts out the message that it is OK to engage in extreme dieting practices, and it is not."

Meanwhile, the British Fashion Council also faces fresh criticism this week for abandoning plans for models' health certificates – which would make sure that all girls on UK catwalks had a healthy body mass index. In failing to introduce the certificates, as recommended by the Model Health Inquiry panel following an investigation into the extreme thinness of catwalk models, the BFC has been accused of "shirking its responsibility" on the issue of size-zero models.

"I think it's tremendously disappointing that the BFC engaged in the Model Health Inquiry saying they'd abide by the recommendations but they haven't, and they've passed the buck to the Association of Model Agencies," said Dr Adrienne Key, eating-disorder specialist at the Priory Clinic and member of the Model Health Inquiry panel.

However, Hilary Riva, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, defended its decision, insisting: "The feasibility study, through consultation with model agents, casting agents, show producers and models, identified insurmountable barriers to the introduction of model health certificates in their current form at London Fashion Week. We are delighted with the increased awareness that we have achieved in the past year and the improved working conditions for models at London Fashion Week."

The model Erin O'Connor, who was also on the panel for the Model Health Inquiry, added that she felt "that to ask all models to produce a mandatory certificate of health compromises their dignity and potentially infringes their human rights".

What no one seems to have suggested is for the designers to make sample clothes in larger sizes, which could see more realistic models become the norm. Until that happens, skinny clothes for skinny girls are for ever in fashion.

The retail giant Topshop stands accused of promoting anorexia due to the sale of a controversial T-shirt that reads "Love My Bones". It has been one of the store's bestsellers this summer and has been seen on celebrities such as the TV presenter Fearne Cotton.

Katie Metcalfe, 21, a recovering anorexic from Stockton-on-Tees, said: "With a shocking increase in eating disorders, why are they permitted to create and stock such absurd products? Anorexia is a slow suicide and Topshop is promoting it."

A Topshop spokesman said: "Topshop does not intend to remove the T-shirt," but added: "We do not intend to re-order this style. However, this is not due to any group's disapproval or (mis)interpretation of its slogan. 'Love My Bones' is a well-known slogan which means 'love me to my bones' – the very essence of me." The store claims that the T-shirt was "not intended to be used by any radical pro-anorexia groups, or offend any charity or individual customer".

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
fashion
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas