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Vogue Editor Franca Sozzani Links Fashion Industry to Anorexia

Franca Sozzani, Vogue ItaliaVogue Italia Editor Franca Sozzani spoke the unspeakable in a Harvard speech. She directly linked anorexia to the fashion industry’s obsession with extremely thin models. The trend, she said, has devastating consequences.

Too-thin models have been the subject of heated debate in the industry for several years, but models only seem to be getting thinner.

Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23 percent less, according to Katya Zharkova, a plus-size model, and Plus Model magazine. They have been campaigning on the issue.

Most models in fashion are anorexic, according to a widely accepted Body Mass Index (BMI), the magazine asserts.

Sozzani, 62, told a gathering at Harvard this week that the industry glorifies extreme thiness, to the point that it is now accepted as normal and something to aspire to.

“One of the reasons why a girl starts a too-strict diet is the necessity to correspond to an aesthetic standard which rewards thinness,” she said. “And the current inclination to embrace a female beauty standard that exalts thinness has devastating consequences on many adolescents’ eating habits.”

The industry has gone from the age of supermodels when women were curvy to a models who look like undeveloped adolescents “with no sign of curves.”

Sozzani, who is also quite thin, has long opposed pro-anorexia “thinspiration” Web sites. She said her magazine will be doing a special issue “dedicated to health, that is to say featuring [both] curvy and not curvy women, but all healthy.”

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