CFDA Panel on the Unhealthy Trend of Skinny Models

June 12, 2008

Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) hosted a forum Tuesday night to discuss the current trend of super skinny models. “The Beauty of Health: How the Fashion Industry Can Make a Difference” forum brought top American designers, fashion editors and casting agents together to discuss and find solutions for the unhealthy weight epidemic of models. Designer Michael Kors, Coco Rocha, a model and James Scully, a casting agent, all voiced their concerns. Kors advised designers to “stay away from child-size clothes unless [they’re] designing for children.” He added that designers offering small sample sizes makes celebrity clients starve themselves in order to fit into the clothes. This trend of super-skinny models and celebs has a major impact on the general female population.

Coco Rocha admitted that she has buckled under the pressure for models to be waif-like and was living a very unhealthy life. Just two years ago the 5’10” model weighed 108 pounds, yet casting agents and designers were still telling her to lose more weight. “The look this year is anorexic. We don’t want you to be anorexic, we just want you to look it,” said Rocha to the panel. She said she was advised by an agent to throw up after meals. “Last season I took diuretic pills. Once I took so many on an empty stomach that I was doubled over for hours. That’s the last time I ever did something so terrible to my body,” Rocha added. She advised designers to offer healthier food and snacks at shows and to make their sample sizes bigger to fit models. Rocha painted a vivid picture of a day in the life of a model.

“She wakes up in the morning, goes to the bathroom to take a shower and runs by
the full-length mirror because she can’t bare to look at herself naked. She only
weighs 104 pounds, but all she can think is, I need to be thinner. She hurries
to her first show, where she promises herself she’ll eat a few grapes. But when
she gets there, there’s nothing but pastries. First looks are called, she puts
on her dress and it takes three people to zip her up. The dresser makes a joke,
‘We almost had to call the agency and tell them you didn’t fit.’ All the girl
can think is, I better not eat until tomorrow.”

Casting agent James Scully advised the panel to “stop treating models like greyhounds we plan to shoot after a race. We have to remember we are dealing with real people who have real feelings.”

The CFDA panel headed by Diane Von Furstenberg is taking the steps to eradicate the unhealthy trend of waning models. Among those in attendance were Francisco Costa, Georgina Chapman, Keren Craig, Donna Karan, Richard Chai, Marcus Wainwright, David Neville, Derek Lam, Doo-Ri Chung, Diane von Furstenberg, Phillip Lim, and Anna Wintour, plus several other Vogue editors. [The Cut]

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