Models like Lily Cole could soon be banned from Australian catwalks and magazines

Australia To Phase Out Skinny Models

A new code of conduct on body image was launched over the weekend, with the backing of magazines and the Federal Government.

Developed by the National Advisory Group on Body Image, the voluntary code provides guidelines to the fashion, media and advertising industries.

Fashoin designers will be asked not to work with skinny models (those deemed to have a dangerously low body mass index) as well as extremely muscular male models.

Youth Minister Kate Ellis also unveiled a new symbol, similar to the Heart Foundation’s healthy foods tick of approval, which will be awarded to magazines, modelling agencies and fashion houses that take measures to promote healthy body image.

The criteria includes only using models aged 16 or over to model adult clothes; stocking clothing in a wider variety of sizes; and using a broader range of body shapes and ethnicities.

The code also encourages magazines to disclose when images have been digitally retouched, as well as banning advertising for cosmetic surgery and rapid weight loss products.

We applaud this world-first direction and hope magazines and fashion designers continue to get behind it. We heartened that Chanel recently used size 16 model Crystal Renn in a catwalk show, but less impressed when UK designer Julien McDonald recently branded plus-size models ‘a joke’.

What do you think? Do you think this is a step in the right direction, or do you worry that this is all talk and no action?