CFDA to Set Up Health Initiative Booths During Fashion Week

Clinician on site to answer questions.

NEW YORK — The Council of Fashion Designers of America continues to develop its health initiative, with several new features to bow during fashion week.

This story first appeared in the August 28, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Where each fashion capital conceived different solutions to the ongoing issue of ultrathin models, from requiring doctors’ certificates to a minimum body mass index, the CFDA created a set of recommended guidelines to promote health and beauty — which garnered the organization some criticism for not going far enough in its efforts to deal with the issues.

Prior to fashion week, CFDA once again sent letters to designers, model agents, casting directors and stylists to remind them of the suggested guidelines.

During this round of shows, the CFDA is setting up health initiative booths at the Bryant Park tents, inside the lobby of IMG’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and backstage. In partnership with the Renfrew Center, a residential treatment facility for eating disorders, the booths will offer information on the guidelines, as well as an informational brochure on eating disorders, the signs and symptoms.

“In partnership with the Renfrew Center, we will have a clinician on site who is going to be there to answer specific questions, provide referrals and basically perform overall outreach to any person who might be interested in treatment or may be worried about someone they are working with,” said Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA.

In addition, people can sign a proclamation of support for the guidelines at the booths. The signature drive was kicked off in June at an event featuring speakers Michael Kors, Coco Rocha and CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg. Since then, the list of signatures has grown to about 300, and includes Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Derek Lam and Carolina Herrera, as well as several editors, agents and models.

Kolb said the initiative has been supported by companies and institutions such as IMG Fashion, the Renfrew Center, Condé Nast Publications, the Tharanco Group and, most recently, Talbots.