Models Call for Health Check on Fashion Week

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Models are uniting to call for designers and the fashion industry as a whole to promote better health practices among models. Specifically, they are targeting the general pressure inside the industry for models to stay extraordinarily thin. The call comes in the form of an open letter through the National Eating Disorders Association, which lists more than 50 signing models, with a place for others to add their signatures. Several modeling agencies added their names to the petition as well, and the Model Alliance is also on board.

The letter, published Jan. 31, is a call for New York Fashion Week to demonstrate more diversity than it has in past years. It criticizes the fashion industry’s tendency to prioritize thinness over health and to only employ models who fit into a narrow physical standard.

The models will put the power of social media to work for their cause. In the letter, they stated that they will draw attention through social media to industry leaders who bring diversity to the runway. Those who signed the letter said they particularly “will keep an eye out the diversity of race, size, age, and gender status.”

The letter was also critical of the fashion industry’s lack of response to concerns over models’ health without laws in place to mandate healthy practices.

The call for change comes partly in response to a recent study that was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The study surveyed 85 fashion models and found that the pressures they were under to stay thin or lose weight increased the likelihood that they would practice unhealthy weight control behaviors. The study suggested that regulating Body Mass Index within the industry would not alleviate the issue. However, it also suggested that it would be helpful for employers to give models breaks and food for jobs lasting more than six hours.

Models are asking that not only lawmakers and designers, but other fashion workers, such as casting directors and agents, move to change the standards that the industry has long tolerated. Together, they hope to transform the business.

Featured image via Quinn Dombrowski

I'm a lover of words in all forms, sweatshirts in all conditions, and God in all circumstances. I particularly enjoy working collaboratively on the written word and wearing microfiber robes (preferably at the same time). Most of the time I don't get enough sleep, but I make a valiant effort.

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