This is a significant new article from the L.A. Times
on the topic of fashion and the anorexia crisis. It can be found at the following URL:
Here are some of the important points. First of all, the article refers again to the CFDA, the overseeing body of the fashion industry, which was introduced
in a recent post:
Diane von Furstenberg, in her capacity as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, sent the organization's members a letter urging them to take a position on the issue of underweight models. Her letter followed a meeting last week of industry leaders such as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, designers Derek Lam and Vera Wang, and health and nutrition experts.
The letter called dangerously thin models a "global fashion issue." Further, Von Furstenberg wrote that "as designers, we cannot ignore the impact fashion has on body image. We share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the industry, sending the message that health is beauty."...
This week, Von Furstenberg said it's important that the American industry join the dialogue: "We have an opportunity to help, and I think we have to seize that opportunity."
It's a more encouraging development than I hoped -- in particular, the crucial first step of the fashion industry recognizing that it DOES ruin body image, and that it DOES have a responsibility in how it impacts the culture we all have to live with.
Mind you, a letter is not yet action, as the article has the foresight to recognize:
Forty years after the Twiggy era, critics might say that message is coming a little too late. Thinness has become so deeply ingrained in our food-obsessed culture that the ultra-thin standards of beauty have infiltrated the psyche of nearly every public and private figure, whether a teenage model or a red-carpet strolling actress.
At the extreme, a preoccupation with weight leads to eating disorders, which now affect nearly 7 million women and 1 million men, an epidemic level according to the National Assn. of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders of Highland Park, Ill...
This week, the anorexia association began drafting a press release that will encourage the United States fashion industry to acknowledge its responsibility in promoting ultra-thinness and take a leadership role to prevent abuses, said spokesman Keith Sanderson.
"We're urging those in the industry to think before they glamorize the ultra-thin," he said. "Anorexia nervosa kills. No other mental illness matches eating disorders for killing you."
Let's hope some action will finally be taken. In discovering the existence of the CFDA, we have an example of an organization that could
make change happen -- by doing more than just writing a letter (although a letter is a first step).
The most important point may be the simplest, with the article stating "it's neither good business nor good ethics to promote sickly images."
If the industry would only begin using plus-size models instead of waifs, it would solve this "global fashion issue" overnight.