This year the Council of Fashion Designers of America have set up health initiative guidelines to help raise awareness of eating disorders among young women.
The target of controversy in recent years, designers have been ridiculed for the models they send down the runway, rather than the possible faux pas they create in avant-garde pieces.
The more “voluptuous” super models of the 90s have given way to Twiggy-like inspirations in the 2000s. Designers want a walking coat hanger. Honestly, I don’t blame them. Who wants to see a piece of clothing with giant cleavage distracting from the neckline or a muffin top bulging the hem upwards?
Models are paid to have a certain body type and maintain that body type. But they must maintain it in healthy ways. I had a model friend who was 6-feet and a size zero. Her hips bones jutted out and her spine poked through her back, but she didn’t have an eating disorder. She had the runway body type. So many young girls strive for this completely unrealistic frame that only a handful of women have.
It’s courageous for the CFDA to take on this trend of unhealthy tactics head on instead of ushering it under the rug and trying to hide any bad publicity.
And even though deterring bad publicity is probably one of the CFDA’s main concerns, it seems like they really do care about women and sending the right message through the creative and powerful medium of fashion. “We each have the power to impact the lives of women. Together, we can let the world know that diversity and Health Is Beauty are what we stand for,” Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb wrote in a letter on the CFDA’s website.
Models now have to be 16 or older to walk the runway. Providing healthy snacks and a smoke free environment during shoots and fittings are other objectives. They are also working on developing workshops on eating disorders and having models seek professional help if they have an eating disorder.
Clothes are important, but the women who wear them are far more valuable.