Every year this exact same debate rears its ugly head. Fashion Week hits Sydney and amongst the flurry of air kisses, make up, heels and music is the toxic side of fashion and the question we all need to ask ourselves, “Why are these young girls that clearly look like they are starving, being put on a catwalk?”

With so much attention placed on appearance and unhealthy, unrealistic images in the media, a teenage girl trying to understand what a healthy body looks like can be a massive challenge.

This week, it was reported that Ruby Wilson, the most booked model for Sydney Fashion Week has a waist circumference of a seven year old girl. What message is this sending out to Australians? That this is what you need to look like in order to be perceived as beautiful?…it is SO dangerous!

Every year, fashion designers argue that their clothes look better on waif thin models. Well, perhaps they should start designing different clothes. The average Australian women is not a starving size 0 so I am not sure who their customers are? It is not just about clothes and fashion, designers have a social obligation to send out positive messages to our society. Our young girls are seeing these models that swear by a ciggie and coffee diet and they think this is what it takes to be beautiful. These messages directly impact a young girls self esteem and her place in society.

I believe that mandatory health checks should be done by those that grace our catwalks and are involved in this industry. Our sports stars get random drug tests so why cant our models get random health checks?This week, Fashion Week reported four models fainting and requiring medical assistance. There is a no food policy in the dressing rooms and these girls are working 8 – 14 hour days.

The models selected for Fashion Week are young and incredibly impressionable and will do whatever is required in order to get that next modelling gig. How do I know this? I have spent the last 15 years working for some of the top modelling agencies in South Africa, London, Germany and Australia. I used to be a model Booker and educator. I saw first hand how toxic this environment can be for a young, impressionable girl. That was the driving force of why I set up my business Beautiful Minds. I wanted to educate and inspire young girls to make positive, healthy life choices.

Fashion Week should not only be  concerned for the models themselves, but there is a greater impact that occurs across society because it puts tremendous pressure on young people and is a contributor to the increasing frequency with which they get eating disorders.

The industry needed to be concerned not just with promoting clothes and fashion, but the well being of a generation of young women.

I believe we need to stop having the extremes in our models, waif thin verses plus size models. What happened to healthy, sexy Ozzie girls?