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Women’s Equality Party calls on fashion industry to tackle public health problem of eating disorders by calling for an end to alarmingly small sample sizes.

The Women’s Equality Party today announced the launch of its #NoSizeFitsAll campaign, which aims to tackle the growing number of women and girls suffering eating disorders by going to the root of the problem – tiny sample sizes from fashion designers. Coinciding with London Fashion Week, the campaign will shine a spotlight – for the first time – on the link between the clothes that designers make for fashion shows, and the unhealthy images of women seen on catwalks, billboards and in magazines.

“Fashion designers are creating sample clothes that normal-sized women can only fit into after weeks of starving themselves to the point of malnutrition and fashion agencies are paying their models to be unwell,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party. “This collaboration is in turn affecting women and girls across the country whose response to such pervasive imagery of extremely thin ‘role models’ is to seek to imitate their unhealthy appearance.”

“This has created a public health problem that is costing our economy up to £1.3 billion every year, to say nothing of the health and happiness of much of our population. WE aim with this campaign to bring an end at last to the idea that there is only one kind of body and one size of fashion for all.”

The #NoSizeFitsAll campaign calls for designers at LFW to show two different sample sizes in every range, one of which must be a UK size 12 or above, and a commitment from UK fashion publications to include one plus-size spread in every issue (plus size is UK size 12 and above) as a mandatory part of PSHE.

“No foreign legislation or proposed legislation here in the UK has yet acknowledged the link between sample sizes and the pressure on models to be thin, or considered targeting the designers in conjunction with regulating modelling agencies,” Walker said. “The fashion industry have proved stubbornly resistant to change, so we believe the time has come to force it to evolve.”

Walker has written to Maria Miller, MP, to ask the Women and Equalities Select Committee to hold an inquiry to ask leaders in the fashion industry why they feel that uniformity and excessive thinness among their models is integral to their artistic vision. She  has also asked London Mayor Sadiq Khan to withdraw funding from London Fashion Week if the industry does not take the steps outlined above.

“We will ensure the fashion industry no longer gets away with using unhealthy and unsuitable models,” she said.

Supporters of the new initiative include plus-sized model and mental health advocate, Jada Sezer, who models for L’Oréal and recently launched her own fashion line. Rosie Nelson is also an advocate, who started a petition last year after being told by a major London agency to ‘get down to the bone’ – despite at the time already having a BMI of 16 which is classified as severely malnourished.

“The healthcare costs for eating disorders in England have been estimated at £80-100million, with the overall economic cost estimated to cost £1.26 billion a year,” said Walker. “We also know that marketing images that use average-size models are equally effective at selling fashion, so it simply makes sense for designers to show off ranges that can actually be worn by ordinary women.

“The changes WE are calling for will protect models, protect women and create a culture in which all bodies are celebrated. It is time that fashion got on trend.”

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