Australia Attempts to Ban Thin Models, Heavy Retouching

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A model at Australian Fashion Week in May. Photo: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

Australia's youth minister, Kate Ellis, came up with a plan to reward fashion magazines and designers who cast healthy models and reject overzealous, unrealistic retouching. The new guidelines for winning this "tick of approval":


- Disclose when images have been retouched and refrain from enhancing photographs in a way that changes a person's body shape, for example, lengthening their legs or trimming their waist, or removing freckles, lines and other distinguishing marks.

- Only use models aged 16 or older to model adult clothes - both on catwalks and in print.

- Refrain from using models who are very thin - or male models who are excessively muscular.

- Stocking clothing in a wide variety of sizes in shops to reflect the demand from customers.

- Using a broad range of body shapes, sizes and ethnicities in editorial and advertising.

- Not promoting rapid weight loss, cosmetic surgery, excessive exercising or any advertisements or editorial content that may promote a negative body image.

According to the News, a "panel of health and academic experts" will work over the next six months to come up with guidelines fashion magazines and designers have to meet to win the symbol of approval. Ellis said, "The symbol is a win for consumers. It will empower consumers to tell the fashion, beauty, media and modelling industries what they want and provide greater choice." However, this isn't a law, these are choices designers and fashion magazines may choose — or not choose — to make. And the symbol doesn't assert that a brand or magazine is fashionable. So it's unclear how great an effect this kind of system will have on the industry, but judging by most magazines and runway shows, thin is still pretty damn in, despite the number of people in this world who continue to disapprove of it.

Australia to ban ultra-skinny models [News Australia]