This is really cool- the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) has recently released a Health Initiative to try to combat eating disorders among models. Hooray! Of course, eating disorders affect women of all sizes and not just those in the fashion industry. In fact, many plus size women suffer from eating disorders. With well known plus models/advocates Whitney Thompson and Chenese Lewis becoming spokeswomen for the National Eating Disorder Association and Binge Eating Disorder Association , the plus community is starting to view eating disorders differently.
President of CFDA, Diane Von Furstenberg, released guidelines to help ensure that models are healthy. Although the guidelines listed apply to those in the fashion industry, I find them to be universal and applicable to various areas of our lives.
- 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 modeling. And models who are receiving professional help for an eating disorder should not continue modeling 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; and providing regular breaks and rest. (Consult the applicable labor laws found at www.labor.state.ny.us when working with models under sixteen.)
- 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.
And, I’m proud to report that at all of our photoshoots, we have plenty of water, fruit, and other healthy snacks for our models. And, of course, we also prohibit smoking and alcohol from our sets.