CFDA Releases Health Guidelines Ahead of Fashion Week — But Is It Enough?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Models hit the runway at New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images)
Models hit the runway at New York Fashion Week. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) does more than just decide the theme for the Met Gala. Twice a year, CFDA chair Diane von Furstenberg and CEO Steven Kolb release an official Health Initiative Statement in advance of New York Fashion Week. This year, the statement encourages designers to be more aware of models’s health and wellness.

As more models and designers embrace the body positivity movement, the statement serves as a reminder that Fashion Week runways can always stand to be more inclusive. Ahead of final NYFW model casting, the CFDA released guidelines to identify early warning signs of disordered eating.

They also encourage those with an eating disorder to obtain professional help and suggest that models who are already under professional care should need approval before being cast in a show. The statement also makes an important call for healthy meals, snacks, water, and regular breaks backstage. These requests may seem simple, but in the hustle of NYFW even basic needs can go overlooked.

Although health awareness on U.S. runways is certainly something to celebrate, other countries have gone much further in protecting models’s wellness. Thanks to new legislation, models seeking work in France must provide a doctor’s certified healthy body mass index and overall bill of good health — or face a steep fine or even a six-month prison term.

Israel goes a step further, with a regulation body mass index of 18.5 for all professional models. Both countries have a legal requirement to denote when a model’s body has been retouched.

In the states, it makes headlines when a celebrity’s picture is noticeably altered or when a model doesn’t seem to mind her stretch marks. Designers are finally starting to pay more attention to wellness and diversity of all kinds. There’s still a long way to go until a designer is jailed for hiring a too-thin model, but we’re optimistic that this February’s NYFW will be more diverse and healthy than ever.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.