Sunday, August 28, 2011

Standards for Young Runway Models

As I am in the final stages of revising my book "Photo Styling," I am vigilant about any articles about the industry. This edition of the book is going to be up-to-date and universal at the same time. I spotted an editorial in a recent Women'sWear Daily by Bridget Foley about fashion industry responsibility for young and too-thin models on the runways.

She wrote of the CFDA's (Council of Fashion Designers of America) attempt to increase awareness - and assume a responsible role - of potential eating disorders in young models, and the role of society in accepting models who are really children. Bridget's viewpoint is that it is not the responsibility (even the shared responsibility) of the fashion industry to police these standards; that it should be up to parents, agents, or medical personnel.

Having recently explored the law in California regarding child actors, I was surprised to find that other states still do not have such regulation, just as it was six years ago when I wrote my first edition. So I am glad to see that the CFDA (led by Diane Von Furstenburg) has stepped up and taken a stand on the health and well-being of young models.

The CFDA website states: In 2007, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) created a Health Initiative to raise awareness of eating disorders in the fashion industry and to change the aesthetic on the New York runways and in magazines from extreme thinness to a more realistic ideal. Given the complexities of the illnesses, the CFDA felt that BMI was not an effective screening tool. To protect the well-being of models, the CFDA created a series of guidelines consistent with their message “Health Is Beauty.” Key recommendations include encouraging models to receive regular medical care and advising those who may have an eating disorder to seek professional help in order to continue modeling. The guidelines also call upon designers to support the well-being of younger models by not hiring those under the age of sixteen for runway shows and by not allowing those who are under the age of eighteen to work past midnight at fittings or shoots.

My revised book will be published in Spring, 2012 by Allworth Press under the title, "Starting Your Career in Photo Styling."

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