If you thought Diane von Furstenberg was going to let the modeling industry get away with putting models who can’t legally drive on her runway, you thought wrong. In a letter sent to people who’ll be involved with Fashion Week this fall, the CFDA president reiterated that no one under 16 will be allowed on the New York runways, and models who are noticeably unhealthy should be dismissed.
The letter pins itself to the CFDA’s Health Initiative, which this month is five years old. As much as von Furstenberg says the industry has done to adopt the Initiative’s guidelines (which, let’s be honest, probably isn’t all that much), she wants to see them do more. The letter came with a refreshed copy of the guidelines and a tipsheet on how to recognize signs that someone has an eating disorder, both good tools to defend the runways against an onslaught of unhealthy models. That is, if modeling agencies and casting directors bother to follow them.
She also made a personal commitment to ensure that no one under the age of 16 walks down her runway, and she challenged the rest of the designers showing this year to do the same. Of course she made the same commitment last September, but a 15-year-old model named Hailey Clauson still managed to get down her runway without too much apparent trouble. So this year, she’s got it in writing that no one under the age of 16 will even make it to casting calls.
Top modeling agencies –- including DNA, Elite, Ford, IMG, Marilyn, New York Models, Next, One, Supreme, Trump, Wilhelmina, Women and Women Direct – have again pledged that they will not send out models under the age of 16 for shows. The industry must work together to support this and insist that models show i.d. to casting agents or to someone on the production team. Any model walking in the Diane von Furstenberg runway will have shown i.d. prior to the show.
We do impact the lives of women and we can set a strong example of a well balanced life on our runways.
Emphasis ours. We love that Diane is taking responsibility for what many in the fashion industry don’t see as a social problem — she’s absolutely right when she says that the runway has an impact on the lives of women. Here’s hoping the fact that she’s finally carrying a big stick (and speaking softly as ever) will help that impact become a positive one.