Founder of London Fashion Week gives his opinion of a woman’s ideal size
Achilleas Constantinou, the founder of both Ariella Couture and London Fashion Week has made a few controversial statements about the ideal size for a woman.
He says that women should be slim for their partners, but size zero is a no-no. He added that all women, particularly those who were big fans of fashion, should strive to be a healthy and acceptable weight for their men.
Mr Constantinou has been a long term campaigner for serious measure to be taken to counter what he describes as the endemic eating disorders that are spreading like a cancer throughout the fashion industry. He also applauds Israel as the first country to outlaw skinny models in advertisements and on the catwalk. Other countries have taken steps to prevent size zero models becoming successful, and he believes the UK should do the same.
“According to a recent YouGov survey, 80% of Brits say ban under 16, size zero models; and 79% say average size models would sell more clothes. There is strong consensus among the British public that fashion designers should not be allowed to use models under the age of 16 in catwalk shows, nor should they be allowed to use size ‘zero’ models, the poll found.
“In 2007 before I resigned from the British Fashion Council, we commissioned the Model Health Inquiry headed by Baroness Denise Kingsmill. It recommended inter-alia a permanent model health panel, which the BFC has set up and this checks models conditions backstage, ensuring they have a sanctuary relaxation zone and healthy food and drink. It also ensures that girls under 16 are not allowed to model and liaises regularly with designers and model agencies to ensure models have access to nutritional information with the focus being on health not on size.
This was a tremendous step forward but skinny models still appearing on catwalks around the world has shown that the problem has not yet been eliminated.
Almost eight out of ten people also feel that designers would actually help, rather than damage, their business if they were to use more averaged-sized women in catwalk shows”.
“Based on that data, steps should be taken to formalise the Fashion industries take on on underage and Size Zero models”.
“What has been happening on the catwalk for a number of years is highly irresponsible…Yes the camera puts on a size usually to the viewer, but so what!”
“Diseases such as anorexia have had a devastating effect on today’s youth and there can be no denying that the fashion world and the ‘role models’, they promote are partly to blame”.
“The problem of eating disorders and the pressure on models to be thin is extremely important”.
“For me, there was an additional personal aspect to any discussions”.
“Anorexia is an issue about which I have exceptionally strong opinions. My much-loved niece has battled the disease since the age of 15 and she is now 42!”.
“I have witnessed the pain it causes, the endless trips to and from the clinics, the desperate fight she has put up with and the fact that anorexia will remain with her for the rest of her life”.
“Her love of fashion was one of the reasons she developed the disease”.
“This is a trend happening to girls as young as 13 years of age”.
“We need to approach the matter in a way that will effect lasting change. I believe it should be seriously considered whether a model size eight – a more accurate visual guide than the Body Mass Index (BMI) – should be set as an industry standard.
Other strategies are being debated, but our Fashion Industry from Designers to model agencies must take responsibility for their actions and rectify this unacceptable influence on our youth, and I hope the forthcoming British Fashion Week will be utilised to show the rest of the Fashion world how we in Britain are leading the world, not only with our fabulous and creative fashion but also with our moral approach to it.”