The president of the CFDA, has sent out the updated guidelines for this year’s New York Fashion Week which focus on the age of models being allowed to walk, stating that they must be over the age of 16 (with proof of ID) and suggest models under 18 years shouldn’t be kept past midnight for fittings.
This comes after last year’s shocking discovery of a 15-year-old girl modeling on the ramp. The guidelines also focus heavily on eating disorders and provides a list of symptoms to look out for. It suggests ways to deal with models affected, and states that agencies shouldn’t use models that they know have disorders.
Women across the world watch these fashion shows and are forced into believing that the faces and figures they see are the ideal shape. Straight hips and flat chests, under size six – that’s what’s ‘appealing’ in the fashion world?! Models used are girls who have yet to hit puberty and sometimes even men (heard of Andrej Pejic?). How on earth can the average women even begin to compete?
Some scary facts shown in a recent spread done by Plus Model Magazine :
• Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
• Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
• Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
• 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.
What kind of example are designers trying to send to young girls and women? That beauty really is on the outside and not to embrace the curves we were given? Granted, some women are born with the genes that allow them to stay skinny and have legs like giraffes, but that’s NOT the average woman. Especially not in South Africa.
The guidelines only apply to ramp modeling, not to shoots and advertisement etc… So you kind of have to ask yourself, “what’s the point?!”
It may be the start to a change, but it’s hardly enough. The use of one or two plus-size models in shows isn’t going to affect the way models are seen. They need to become the norm. Shouldn’t we start demanding change?