"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" remarked Kate Moss at the height of her career and it doesn't seem like much has changed in the fashion industry since then. Extremely slim, some might even say skeletal, women have long been romanticized in the west, largely thanks to the fashion industry that has saturated the media with images of rail thin women.
On the one hand, I get why designers prefer super slim models - it not only makes the clothes the focus of attention, it also allows them to get away with making only one sample size, an advantage that it's worth it weight in gold when you consider the huge expense of a runway show multiplied by the number of times a designer must show every year to remain relevant.
On the other hand, no one can deny how these pervasive images of the ideal body impact the the self-image of impressionable girls and women. While I consider myself to be a confident woman, even I have to admit that I've become more critical of my body since I moved to the US from Kenya. I can only imagine the impact it would have had on my psyche if I'd grown up here, bombarded with images of women that looked nothing like me day after day.
Due to the rising public outcry over this issue, legislators in several countries have began to take notice. Most notable of them is France that recently passed a law in April that requires models to prove they have a BMI of at least 18 in order to work. Meanwhile other countries like Spain and Italy rely on voluntary codes of conduct to protect models. Either way, I think it's the right thing to do. It sends the message that being healthy is more important than being a clothes hanger. Complying will not only stop the tide of negative press for the fashion industry, it should also have minimal impact on the cost to run a fashion show - all the designers have to do is make their sample sizes a little big bigger.