Finally some new standards are being set in the world of runway modeling. On Thursday, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) released an updated set of guidelines to combat the dangerously thin runway trend, and to ensure the models walking in New York Fashion Week are in good health.
Healthy eating and age restrictions are the major concerns being addressed in the new guidelines. One new rule requires that all models must be over the age of 16 to walk the runway shows, and they’ll be checking IDs. The issues of age and body image are intricately connected, says president of the CDFA Diane von Furstenberg and Dr. David Herzog, director of the Harris Center:
“Designers generally produce only one sample size for the runway, and in the last decade there has been a dramatic downward shift in the sample size of some of the top design houses. As a result, models are under increasing pressure to be thinner and thinner, and younger and younger. The industry’s hiring of prepubescent-appearing teenage girls as models of adult clothing sets an unrealistic standard; hips and breasts, the curves that define the female figure, are absent. Some models have difficulty maintaining the body ideal as they move into adulthood and run the risk of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors that lead to eating disorders.”
Here are the new guidelines handed down by the CFDA:
- 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.
- 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. 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.
The new guidelines only apply to runway models, but it’s a step in the right direction.