France Bans Too-Thin Fashion Models, Demands That Photoshopping Be Labeled


France has passed a new law designed to combat anorexia in fashion modeling and unrealistic body images in fashion photography.

Introduced back in March and passed as law last week, the new “skinny-model ban”, as it’s called, requires that in order to work, thin models first present a doctors note stating that they’re healthy and that their body mass index (BMI) is over 18. Agency and brand employers who break this rule face up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to €75,000 (~$82,000).

What’s more, advertising photos that have been digitally manipulated must now include disclosures stating that editing was done. If the words “retouched photograph” or “photograph edited” aren’t found with digital editing that makes models smaller or larger, then the creator faces a fine of €37,500 (~$41,000) or 30% of the expenses that went into creating the ad.


France estimates that there are about 30,000 to 40,000 people living in France who deal with anorexia, and that 20% of women have restricted their food intake at least some time during their lives.

“The images of the body rewarding excessive thinness or wasting and stigmatizing curves undeniably contribute to unhappiness, especially among many young girls,” the bill says. “But the appearance of some models helps to spread potentially dangerous stereotypes for fragile populations.”

So now French legislators have taken action to make changes where culture and industry have not.

Image credits: Header photo by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode