Model health guidelines for New York Fashion Week released by the CFDA
The fashion industry's attitude towards food, body image and weight-gain was perfectly pilloried in the 2006 film, The Devil Wears Prada . Miranda Priestly's first assistant, played by Emily Blunt, has succumbed to the ideal of the impossibly tiny model proportions featured in glossy magazines:
"See, I'm on this new diet," says Blunt. "I don't eat anything. And right before I feel I'm going to faint, I eat a cube of cheese. I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight."
Since modelling began, the industry has been rife with eating disorders and substance abuse. For most women it's just not genetically possible (past puberty) to both fit the sample sizes made by designers and eat normally. Adriana Lima's preparation for the Victoria's Secret runway show, a company which prides itself on using models with curves, caused a stir when she told The Telegraph she doesn't eat solid food for nine days before the show .
Diane von Furstenberg, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is taking the issue of eating disorders in the modelling world to hand. She has just sent out this season's guidelines for ensuring models stay healthy during New York Fashion Week. Models are to be asked for ID on the day of a show to make sure they are at least 16 years-old.
For the last five years, the designer has pioneered the CFDA's Health Initiative.
"We do impact the lives of women and we can set a strong example of a well balanced life on our runways," von Furstenberg writes.
Crystal Renn, the plus-size supermodel, wrote the book, Hungry , (published in 2010) about her early experiences as a model. Skin and bones, with her hips jutting out at sharp angles and her face gaunt, her agent says she needs lose yet more weight. This leads to an eating disorder and an obsessive compulsive exercise regime. Other models have resorted to eating cotton wool or tissue paper to feel full but not absorb calories. The model diet of a cup of black coffee, a few Marlborough Lights and a glass of champagne after a show will not sustain a flea, but Kate Moss summed up the model philosophy when she announced, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
Of the CFDA's Health Initiative, von Furstenberg writes:
"In January 2007, the CFDA formed a health initiative to address what has become a global fashion issue: the overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin, and whether or not to impose restrictions in such cases. Designers share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the business, sending the message that beauty is health."
She continues: "While some models are naturally tall and thin and their appearance is a result of many factors... other models have or develop eating disorders. Although we cannot fully assume responsibility for an issue that is as complex as eating disorders and that occurs in many walks of life, the fashion industry can begin a campaign of awareness and create an atmosphere that supports the wellbeing of these young women."
Von Furstenberg has stopped short of introducing BMI (body mass index) restrictions on models cast for shows. In 2006, Madrid was the first city in the world to ban models with a BMI of less than 18 from its catwalks. Medics were on hand at the city's fashion week to check models.
That year, Letizia Moratti the mayor of Milan, sought to do the same thing, telling an Italian newspaper the fashion industry had to find an alternative to using "sick" looking models.
"There are still too many skeletons on the runways," Tiziana Maiolo, the Milan city councillor responsible for fashion told the New York Times . "When you see girls like this, you can see that something sick is going on."
The CFDA's guidelines are as follows:
• Educate the industry to identify the early warning signs in an individual at risk of developing an eating disorder.
• Encourage models who may have an eating disorder to seek professional help in order to continue modelling. And models who are receiving professional help for an eating disorder should not continue modelling without that professional's approval.
• Develop workshops for the industry (including models and their families) on the nature of eating disorders, how they arise, how we identify and treat them, and complications if they are untreated.
• Support the well-being of younger individuals by not hiring models under the age of sixteen for runway shows; not allowing models under the age of eighteen to work past midnight at fittings or shoots; checking IDs to ensure that models are the appropriate age; providing regular breaks and rest.
• Supply healthy meals, snacks, and water backstage and at shoots and provide nutrition and fitness education.
• Promote a healthy backstage environment by raising the awareness of the impact of smoking and tobacco-related disease among women, ensuring a smoke-free environment, and address underage drinking by prohibiting alcohol.
Von Furstenberg followed up with a list of "warning signs" for eating disorders from the Harris Center for Education and Advocacy in Eating Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital:
• Drastic change in eating or exercise patterns.
• Skipping meals; eating very little; denying hunger.
• Avoiding situations that involve food or eating.
• Unusual food rituals or behaviours (cutting food into little pieces, pushing food around on plate without eating it, hiding food in napkin).
• Adherence to a very strict diet or rules about food/eating.
• Obsessive counting of calories, carbohydrates, or fat grams.
• Regularly eating large amounts of food without weight gain.
• Tendency to go to the bathroom after eating.
• Hiding food; eating in secret.
• Extreme fears of gaining weight.
• Severe dissatisfaction with body weight, shape or appearance.
• Rapid weight loss.
• Using extreme measures to lose weight (e.g., laxatives, diet pills, diuretics).
• Compulsive or driven exercise; inflexible exercise routine.
• Talking about weight, shape, and/or food all the time.
• Irritability, moodiness, depression.
• Withdrawing from friends and/or activities.
• Cuts and calluses on the back of the hands.
• Dental enamel problems.
• Wearing loose-fitting clothing to conceal weight loss.
• Irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
• Sensitivity to the cold.
I don't know what happened with the text size sorry guys