Sunday, January 14, 2007

Health Guidelines for NY Models

The CFDA has just released a Health Initiative in which I am assuming is in response to the growing controversy over the health of the industry's models. This initiative comes just as Milan has enforced their rules (click to view) and right before the fall 2007 shows are set to start early next month in New York.

The Initiative was put into place by CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour who formed a committee of experts, which includes a medical doctor; a fitness specialist (famed trainer to the stars David Kirsch); a nutritionist; (not surprisingly) a modeling agent and (surprisingly) a SVP from a leading PR firm.

With all due respect to the SVP and the modeling agent I wonder what kind of knowledge they will bring to the table as an expert on weight control and eating disorders. In my sincere opinion, I think they were brought on board in an act of industry good will, as they are the ones that scout and cast the models, and well bottom line, they need to take care of their bottom line, and in the end the CFDA needs to take care of it as well.

Personally I do not think that these two individuals have any business in creating these so-called guidelines and furthermore, I think said guidelines have been put in order not so much for the benefit of the models but for the image of the CFDA and New York fashion week. Spain started, Milan jumped on board, and well, New York being the initiator it is, needs to respond and a Health Initiative is what they responded with. Apparently, as they CFDA stipulated, it is not enforcement it's education.

"Educate the industry to identify the early warning signs in an individual at risk of developing an eating disorder…Models who are identified as having an eating disorder should be required to seek professional…Develop workshops… Supply healthy meals." (Read the guidelines) These are just some of their guidelines. I don’t quite understand though, isn't this what they should have been doing all along.

I think these are just ideas not actual actions and action is what we need in this industry to prevent models from dying. I am quite disappointed with the CFDA. I think these "guidelines" are a complete mockery. I actually laughed out loud when I read them.

The best guideline- “not hiring models under the age of 16 for shows” and “not allowing models under the age of 18 to work past midnight at fittings and shoots.” Notice how they added " fittings and shoots” and not at shows.

I think that the CFDA knew they had to respond (or knew they should respond), they congregated industry insiders (the SVP of PR firm and modeling agent), they recruited some medical experts and said, “Ok, how do we respond to this situation by appearing responsible, like we are taking action, yet not disrupting the ebb and flow nor loosing any money in the process. How do we respond without changing anything?"

And this is what I think they achieved with their Health Initiative…nothing.
Photo: , 3.1 Phillip Lim spring 2007

1 comment:

Head in the clouds said...

At the moment all these health rules seem to be more loose guidelines. Hopefully though, in a few years, it will actually make a difference to the sort of people we see on some of the catwalks.