Spanish fashion houses agree anti-anorexia 'charter'
MADRID (AFP) - Leading Spanish fashion houses including Inditex and flagship brand Zara agreed an unprecedented move to draw up a beauty "canon" including harmonising dress sizes after a recent storm over the number of young women suffering from anorexia.
The 12-point package of measures, or beauty "charter" -- drawn up with the health ministry -- includes a stipulation that shop windows display sizes of 38 minimum (size 10 in Britain, eight in the United States) and that size-46 apparel be placed in easy view in stores under the generic label "large sizes."
In a joint statement the couturiers said they intended to harmonise sizes in a bid to reduce the possibility of "consumer error" with sizes currently not in sync from one firm to the next.
Aside from Zara, other signatories included Cortefiel, Mango and chain store Corte Ingles as the Spanish firms, most of whom also sell their wares abroad, are reacting to concerns that anorexia is on the rise and that models are "excessively thin."
The charter, whose measures will be progressively introduced, aims to mark a break with showcasing models of beauty which are "impossible to reach for most people" and "can contribute to serious health disorders," such as anorexia, a health ministry statement said.
The measures are based on a biometric study of 8,500 Spanish women aged between 12 and 70 begun earlier this year, the ministry said.
Last year, Madrid's prestigious Pasarela Cibeles fashion show banned five models from participating because they did not meet World Health Organisation (WHO) weight guidelines.
A Madrid regional law aimed at fighting anorexia also ensured the five were discarded from last September's event when it emerged their body mass index (BMI), calculated on a height-weight ratio was under 18 (56 kilograms for 1.75 meters or 123 pounds for five feet eight inches).
And earlier this month, Madrid authorities this week took the fight against anorexia into cyberspace by forcing the closure of a website promoting the ideal that it's hip to be thin, after lambasting the site for publicising a competition offering would-be models prizes for losing weight.
Recent studies estimate that more than 100,000 Spanish women are anorexic and that up to half a million Spaniards suffer from various food-related disorders.
Jan 23, 2007