As the controversy surrounding weight requirements for models continues, with concerns about eating disorders amongst the young girls who walk the runways each season in Europe and New York during fashion weeks.
The Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced health plan that proposes more education and knowledge about eating disorders in modeling industry, as well as rose support for models under the age of 18 to protect their health. It was a serious issue for the long time - when modeling industry started to require extremely thin models. The use of underweight models promoting the extremely-slim look has held swing in much of world fashion since the 1990s, and was epitomized by British supermodel Kate Moss. But recent events (young models death) called out a controversial issue about models body standards and health.
In response to the new global area of concern on extremely skinny models the CFDA, led by its president Diane von Furstenberg, released a list of recommendations as New Your City Fashion week is coming soon. If someone thinks that the trend of over-skinny models can be changed – they are very naive. They will pay lip service but nothing much will change.
The fashion industry group offered some recommendations how to improve models health. They also do not offer for models under 16 to walk the runway. All models should work limited hours, take breaks and have nutritious snacks and nonalcoholic beverages to refresh in backstage.
BMI (or body mass index) is an indirect measure fat in persons’ body. BMI calculation requires just two pieces of information – height and weight. A person with a BMI under 18.5 is considered as underweight. One of the criteria for diagnosing anorexia is a BMI under 17.5.
Doctors at the Academy for Eating Disorders are giving their own advices to the modeling industry including the adoption of BMI which depends on a model’s sex and age. This November 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died from anorexia, because she was eating just tomatoes and apples and her BMI was just 13.4 when healthy norm is 18.5.
Many girls who walk the runway catwalk are genetically thin. People, who wanted to become models in the past, who where very fit and not overweight were told to loose more weight if they really wanted to become models. They had to become too skinny, from very healthy to become “healthy” for modeling industry. This kind of pressure for models has driven many of them to drugs. We can remember facts about famous supermodel Kate Moss, who was one of the first ultra-skinny models in the world in 1990s. Till now she is having many scandals with drugs and police. Maybe her extremely thin look is not the reason but it’s becoming a serious fact – skinny models and drugs come along together.
"We bought it so we won't send 87-pound girls down the runway," says Bud Konheim, chief executive at Nicole Miller Fashion House. Now every model who comes to their office will get on scale and those who are underweight according to medical standards (BMI less than 18.5) won‘t be allowed to get on Nicoles Miller‘s catwalk. An optional formula for models between 16 and 18 would call for a 5-foot-9 girl to weight more than 117 pounds.
Last September organizers of Madrid fashion week banned models under 18 BMI after “healthy models manifesto” created by Italy’s Chamber of Fashion. A part of this scandal is that designers’ recommendations don’t include weight requirements for models.
Last month in Milan very skinny and under age models where formally banned from participating in February shows. This agreement between Milan City and its fashion industry does not allow models under 16 and those with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 18.5 in Milan shows.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week, which starts later this month, will require models to provide a signed medical certificate saying that they are in good health. Besides models under age of 16 will not have permission to work in their shows.
"In the Third World, if someone has an index of less than 18.5, they send in humanitarian aide” said one participant of debates in New York.