‘They told me I was disgusting’
Ex-model says ban of size 0 will bene t health of talent
If major French fashion companies are serious about their new promise, zero will no longer be the runway sample size.
In the words of a former Canadian model, “It’s about time.”
Oshawa, Ont., native Madison Schill, who once wore a doublezero as a talent with international agency Ford Models, is thrilled that French fashion giants Kering and LVMH have established a charter pledging not to cast models who wear a size zero.
The charter also contains a wholesale ban on under-16s modelling adult clothing, restricts teenage models’ work hours, and requires that models of all ages have access to a therapist.
Together, the two conglomerates own the biggest brands on the globe — Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Dior, to name a handful — and the charter will be enforced worldwide.
Its effect is bound to be felt in Canada, Schill said, because our modelling and fashion industries act as a feeder market for Paris and New York. And if the demand for scary-skinny models dries up there, Canada can be expected to follow suit.
“I’m so happy to see them creating a charter that will comprehensively address an issue that is threatening lives,” Schill said.
She speaks from experience. When she was starting her career, at 15, her agency directed her to lose weight.
“They told me I was disgusting. I was motivated in a fear- and anger-based way to lose weight to prove them wrong,” Schill said.
She dropped 20 pounds from her six-foot frame, eventually hitting a “life-threatening” doublezero size.
A size zero corresponds approximately to a 24-inch waist; and many runway models stand six feet or taller. The average Canadian woman has a 33-inch waist.
“I know there are some girls who are a natural size zero, and you never want to tell anybody what size to be,” Schill said, adding, “Size zero is not a healthy size for me. I was dying.”
Erika Wark, who is a stylist for CTV’S The Social and Your Morning, explained the strong business argument for size diversity. When it comes to teen-tiny runway fashions, “It’s hard for real women to envision themselves in the clothing,” she said. “Fashion should be inclusive — everybody has to get up in the morning and put clothes on.
By committing to eliminate size zero, LMVH and Kering are responding to a sea change in the fashion and beauty world: Consumers are demanding to see more diversity, and magazines and modelling agencies have started to respond by portraying a greater diversity of sizes, ages and ethnicities, Wark said — although there’s still a long way to go.
Schill retired from the industry at 19 to study at the University Sprinter Andre De Grasse calls former Raptor Vince Carter — the subject of a new documentary — “one of my inspirations to inish school and still continue with sport.” of Toronto. Now, as a 23-year-old new grad, she’s back at her premodelling size: A four to six. She grew an inch last year — apparently her body rebounding from
Madison Schill then — during her modelling days — and now.