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Spanish fashion show rejects thinnest models

In accordance with the new regulations for this year’s Cibeles fashion show 30% of models who appeared on its catwalk last year have been excluded for being too thin.

The models have been rejected because they do not comply with new rules put into place by Madrid’s Regional Government demanding that models present a healthy image with at least an 18% Body Mass Index (BMI), i.e. they must weigh at least 56 kilos if their height is 1.75cms. These figures are approximately what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers to be the minimum healthy weight.

The designer Jesús del Pozo made the announcement in a press conference during which Concha Guerra, Madrid’s Vice-Director of Economy and Innovative Technology laid out the new guidelines for the fashion show which starts on 18th September. She said they had taken this unprecedented step because they were aware of the influence the popular Cibeles catwalk had on young girls’ perception of fashion and ideal bodies.

She explained that the Madrid government were aiming for healthier-looking models and getting away from the wasting-away appearance of many models which was heavily criticised during the last Cibeles catwalk.

The announcement was made following her meeting with the principle modelling agencies and meetings with nutritional experts. The Director of the IFEMA Exhibition Centre where Cibeles is held was also involved in the consultations.

Susana Monereo, a doctor and member of the Spanish Association of Endocrinology and Nutrition has explained that BMI is related to each person’s height and is an indicator of their general nutrition. Your BMI can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by your height squared. A healthy result should be between 18 and 25. According to the WHO a BMI less than 18.5% indicates that a person is underweight and a figure of 16.

5% would require hospitalization.

This year models have been selected according to tests carried out by nutrition experts and Guerra said that the tests would be repeated just before the Cibeles catwalk is due to start (on 18th September). As well as insisting on a minimum BMI, the organisers will not allow models under 18 years of age to appear on the catwalk.

This is the first time an internationl fashion show has adopted such measures in order to avoid promoting a distorted image of beauty something which has been associated with anorexia and bulimia. As well as, models under 18 being forbidden from participating there are rules on the models’ make up too.

Del Pozo, who took part in the meetings as a representative of the Association of Fashion Designers has admitted that although the new parameters may cause problems when selecting models it was well worth it in order to set a good example given the problems related to diet and weight in society today.

He also drew attention to the fact that fashion photos are also manipulated using programmes like photoshop.

Monereo said that placing too much emphasis on being thin is a serious heath risk. Not only because it is related to illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia but because it is also linked to problems with fertility, hormone imbalance and osteoporosis. In her opinion it is a social problem whose solution ultimately depends on everyone.

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