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London fashion should ban thin models-Minister

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Sep 17 (Reuters) Britain's Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell urged organisers of London's Fashion Week to ban ''stick-thin'' models from its catwalks.

But The British Fashion Council (BFC), which runs the London Week, has said yesterday it will not tell designers how to run their shows. It has, however, decided to cancel a planned photocall today ''because it is unwilling to add any more impetus to the publicity surrounding this complicated issue.'' The growing trend for super-slim -- so-called ''size zero'' -- models in the industry has created controversy at the height of the fashion show season.

London's Fashion Week, which starts tomorrow, follows New York and comes before Milan and Paris.

Madrid fashion organisers took the unprecedented step of rejecting underweight women, saying they wanted to project an image of beauty and health -- not a waif-like look.

The new Spanish rules say models with a body mass index -- a ratio of height to weight -- below 18 are not allowed to appear at the shows.

Urging London to follow Madrid's example, Jowell said: ''The fashion industry's promotion of beauty as meaning stick thin is damaging to young grils' self-image and to their health.

''The fashion industry is hugely powerful in shaping the attitude of teenage girls and their feelings about themselves,'' she added in a statement.

The mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, has said she will seek a similar ban for Milan Fashion Week -- starting in seven days time -- unless it can find a solution to ''sick'' looking models.

REUTERS PDM PM0845

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