In an effort to address what has become a global fashion issue — the overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin — Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb, chairman and chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, respectively, on Wednesday e-mailed their semiannual message to women’s and men’s fashion designers highlighting the CFDA’s Health Initiative and its guidelines.
In addition, they took the opportunity to remind designers to be considerate and start their runway shows and presentations close to schedule, and to be mindful when sharing models to avoid conflicts that could cause a delay. New York Fashion Week: Men’s runs Feb. 1 through Feb. 4, and the women’s shows run Feb. 11 through Feb. 18.
The CFDA Health Initiative comes on the heels of a new Paris law adopted last month to ban excessively thin fashion models. Under the new legislation, models applying for a job in France must furnish a medical certificate providing their overall health and that their Body Mass Index is appropriate for the métier. Breaches of this by modeling agencies or fashion houses can result in six months imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros, or $81,542 at current exchange. In addition, commercial photographs that have been digitally altered must be accompanied by the mention “retouched photograph.” Any violation will result in a fine starting at 37,500 euros, or $40,771, and possibly going up to 30 percent of the spend on the advertising.
Among the CFDA’s guidelines are to identify early warning signs of individuals at risks of developing an eating disorder. Those models who are identified as having an eating disorder “should be required to seek professional help,” and models who are receiving professional help for an eating disorder should not continue modeling without that professional’s approval. The guidelines also ask designers not to allow models under the age of 18 to work past midnight at fittings and shoots, and to provide regular breaks and rest. “Supply healthy meals, snacks and water backstage and at shoots and provide nutrition and fitness education,” they wrote.