Fashion week: Over 16s, no size zero

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
February 20, 2012, 5:14 PM GMT+0

80% Brits say ban under 16, size zero models; 79% say average size models would sell more clothes

There is strong consensus among the British public that fashion designers should not be allowed to use models under the age of 16 in catwalk shows, nor should they be allowed to use size 'zero' models, our poll has found, as London Fashion Week concludes.

Almost eight out of ten people also feel that designers would actually help, rather than damage, their business if they were to use more averaged-sized women in catwalk shows.

  • 80% of British people say that fashion designers should not be allowed to use models under the age of 16 in catwalk shows
  • Just 14% say that they should
  • 80% say that 'size zero' models should not be allowed to be used
  • Compared to 13% who say that they should
  • Similarly, 79% say that if fashion designers were to use more average-shaped women in their catwalk shows, it would help them, and they would sell more clothes
  • While 9% say that using average-sized women would damage designers as their clothes look best on slim models
  • 7% chose neither of these options (while 5% don't know)

The poll comes as the A/W London Fashion Week concludes, as is traditional, after New York's January events, and ahead of the upcoming Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, which will wrap up the 2012 A/W set.

Debates surrounding the size and ages of models appearing on the global catwalks are as frequent and common as the events themselves, with proposals to ban models aged under 16 or under a certain Body Mass Index (BMI) regularly suggested as a way to legislate the controversial industry.

At this year's New York Fashion Week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America tried to limit catwalk models to those aged over 16, while in 2006 Madrid Fashion Week controversially banned models from the catwalk if their BMI dropped below 18 – the lowest 'normal' limit.

But while models under 16 years of age were officially banned in the capital in 2007, London is still yet to make any moves towards setting a lower weight limit for catwalk models. Many designers are adding fuel to the debate by still reportedly refusing to showcase their clothes on models even slightly closer to the UK average of a size 16. A report published last year on the issue also suggested that showing 'too-large' women on the catwalk wouldn't necessarily promote a healthier body image than continuing to use 'too-slim' women.

An American size 'zero' equates to a UK size four.

See the survey details and full results here (page 11)