'Women should be slim for their men but not Size Zero' says a founder of London Fashion Week
15:40 GMT, 29 August 2012
Fashion designer Achilleas Constantinou has slammed the 'irresponsible' use of Size Zero models in catwalk shows saying they are partly to blame for women developing eating disorders.
The founder of Ariella Couture said women should not be a Size Zero – although he added they should still be 'slim for their men'.
He said: 'Women should be slim for their men – but not Size Zero… An ideal weight is the goal. An ideal weight for health and an ideal weight to appease your partner.'
Calling for change: Designer Achilleas Constantinou thinks the fashion industry should do more to prevent women getting eating disorders
Mr Constantinou, a founder member of the Fashion Industry Action Group, which evolved into the British Fashion Council, has long campaigned for
serious measures to counter, what he calls 'endemic eating disorders
that run like a cancer through the fashion industry'.
Ahead of September's London Fashion Week, he is calling for formal legistation against the use of underage and Size Zero models in the fashion industry.
'Israel is the first country this year to introduce a law on skinny models on the catwalk and in advertisements, which should be applauded, he said. 'Although other countries have taken steps to prevent Size Zero, they have not introduced legislation, a step I believe should happen in the UK.'
Shockingly thin: Samantha Cameron seemed unimpressed by the Size Zero models used in London Fashion Week in 2011
Mr Constantinou resigned from the
British Fashion Council in 2007 to focus on his Ariella Couture line which is sold at selected retailers including Harvey Nichols. His evening wear has been a hit with celebrities including Holly Willoughby, Kelly Rowland and Amanda Holden.
Mr Constantinou said since he left the BFC, steps have been made to improve the health of models and prevent those under the age of 16 taking part in catwalk shows. But he said more needs to be done.
'Skinny models still appearing on catwalks around the world has shown that the problem has not yet been eliminated,' he said.
The fashion designer has seen many models battling eating disorders throughout his career, which began in the Sixties when he founded Ariella with his late brother, Aristos, a graduate of the London College of Fashion.
'Diseases such as anorexia have had a
devastating effect on today's youth and there can be no denying that the
fashion world and the 'role models', they promote are partly to blame,' he said.
'What has been happening on the catwalk
for a number of years is highly irresponsible…Yes the camera puts on a
size usually to the viewer, but so what!'
Not good role models: Skinny models featured in a previous London Fashion Week are a bad influence on young girls according to Constantinou
The issue is one that is close to his heart, not only because of his involvement in the fashion industry, but because his niece has suffered from anorexia.
'Anorexia is an issue about which I have
exceptionally strong opinions. My much-loved niece has battled the
disease since the age of 15 and she is now 42,' he revealed. 'I have witnessed the pain it causes,
the endless trips to and from the clinics, the desperate fight she has
put up with and the fact that anorexia will remain with her for the rest
of her life.'
'Her love of fashion was one of the reasons she developed the disease,' he added.
Mr Constantinou referred to the results of a recent YouGov poll that found that 80 per cent of Brits want to ban under 16 and Size Zero models while 79 per cent think average size models would sell more clothes.
Curvy celebs like Holly Willoughby, left, and Kelly Rowland are fans of Constantinou's Ariella Couture dresses which they are pictured wearing on the red carpet
He said the results prove that the fashion industry needs to change – and that Britain can make a difference by not using skinny models at this year's London Fashion Week (something they have been criticised for doing in the past).
'We need to approach the matter in a way that will effect lasting change. I believe it should be seriously considered whether a model size eight – a more accurate visual guide than the Body Mass Index (BMI) – should be set as an industry standard,' he said.
'Other strategies are being debated, but our fashion industry from designers to model agencies must take responsibility for their actions and rectify this unacceptable influence on our youth.
'I hope the forthcoming British Fashion Week will be utilised to show the rest of the fashion world how we in Britain are leading the world, not only with our fabulous and creative fashion but also with our moral approach to it.'