January 5, 2008

weighty issues.


karlie kloss, the recent target of an anorexia rumour, backstage at s/s 08 calvin klein

the british fashion council has announced their plan of attack regarding model health— fighting drug abuse, eating disorders, and the promoting a healthy lifestyle for models backstage at shows. what they are proposing is a great first step and can help models and young girls with a positive body image. among the highlights:

– no models under the age of 16 will be allowed to walk at LFW (london fashion week)
– identifying additional support for models between 16-18, including providing chaperones
– starting in september, models with have to provide a medical certificate attesting to their good health
– healthy food is to be provided at all september LFW shows and there is a strict no-smoking policy
– model erin o’connor established a “model sanctuary” backstage at the s/s 08 shows, where models can privately meet and discuss issues and access information and advice-givers
– the BFC is working with the british society of magazine editors to consider a voluntary code governing the use of digital manipulation in images

model ali michael with her mom

the idea of a chaperone is the one that is most interesting to me. many former models, tyra banks among them, talk about having their moms travel with them, especially to europe when they were getting started. chanel iman currently travels with her mom, china, who is her manager. even if a model can’t have their mom, it should be someone not connected with their agency.

i was talking to my boyfriend last night about the food backstage (i’ve been to some shows, and the options aren’t great), and he said what he found intriguing is the healthy food edict. he wondered if the BFC was going to provide a list of caterers or if it’s being left up to the designers. and what if the food isn’t healthy and they’re banned from the tents. won’t designers just start staging their own shows? well in nyc, designers like marc jacobs, donna karan, and calvin klein already show “off the schedule.” they don’t need to show in the tents because they have the name recognition. but smaller designers may need the backing, so paying more for healthy food options is worth it in the long run.

the “medical certificate” is something it remains to be seen will work once its implemented. the BFC rejected the idea of using BMI to determine model health because 1. most models between 16-18 are still growing and 2. poking, prodding and weighing a model with an eating disorder or a warped body image could cause more harm than good. i agree with that, but the certificates have to be administered by neutral doctors, ones that don’t have anything to gain by forging them.

so what are your thoughts on the BFC’s recommendations?

pics from style.com and vmagazine.com