Monday, December 18, 2006

Campaign targets anorexic models

ROME - The Italian government and fashion industry joined forces Saturday in a campaign against anorexic models, which includes attention to the "full-bodied" and a commitment to add larger sizes to collections.

The premier's office said that the self-regulating code for Italy's highly competitive fashion industry would be signed in Rome next week.

Helping to spur the war on unhealthily rail-thin models on the fashion show runways was the death from anorexia last month of a 21-year-old model in Brazil.

"The government and fashion associations have made a strategic alliance to go down a common road in the fight against anorexia," Youth Policy and Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri said in a statement issued by the premier's office.

Weeks ago, Melandri, who stands out in the Cabinet as a fashionable dresser with a trim figure, urged the fashion industry to emphasize larger sizes for women instead of tinier sizes on the runways.

The code "wasn't stipulated with the intention of imposing something on someone," said Stefano Dominella, president of a lobby for Rome haute couture. Instead, the aim is "regulating the world of fashion, so that it doesn't get pointed out as being responsible for the dramatic facts in the news," Dominella said in the statement.

Those signing on to the campaign pledge that fashion world will start giving importance to "a model of healthy, sunny, full-bodied Mediterranean beauty that Italy has historically contributed" to the international scene.

Earlier this month, a major Brazilian fashion event moved to bar models younger than 16, part of a national effort to increase awareness about eating disorders.

In September, Madrid's Fashion Week banned models with a body mass index of less than 18. Body mass index is a calculation doctors normally apply to study obesity, and anyone with an index below 18.5 is considered underweight.