Israel’s Photoshop Law comes into force
In 2006, model Luisel Ramos died whilst participating in Uruguay’s Fashion Week. Collapsing as she left for her dressing room, the cause of death was said to be heart failure caused by anorexia nervosa. It was alleged that the 22-year-old lived on a diet of lettuce and Diet Coke three months prior to her death, her weight was just 6st 9lb at a height of 5ft 9in in her final runway show. Luisel’s sister, Eliana, also died of a malnourished related heart attack less than a year later.
These deaths shocked the fashion world, and led to Italian designers banning size zero models from strutting down their catwalks. Although countries such as Spain and Australia have also set minimum weight limits for some shows, one nation took their regulations further this year and introduced new laws which will also effect advertising.
Nicknamed the Photoshop Law, Israeli legislation means both fashion and commercial models must have a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 and be able to produce employers with a medical report showing they have maintained a healthy body weight for three or more months before a show or photo shoot. Also, advertisers who distort images to make models appear under the required BMI must include a warning, telling the viewer the photograph has been altered. The warning must be clear, and take up 7% of the advertising space.
Adi Barkan, an Israeli fashion photographer who worked with model Hila Elmalich before she died, weighing less than four stone, believes in the new laws, commenting: “The time has come for the end of the era of skeletons on billboards and sickly thinness all over. The time has come to think about ourselves and our children, and take responsibility for what we show them. Too thin is not sexy.”