Earlier this month, New York Fashion Week 2013 showcased the latest fashion trends from some of the world’s top designers. And not surprisingly, the conversation about whether or not the models are too thin and/or promoting an unattainable “thin ideal” continued.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has already taken a stand to prevent eating disorders and foster a positive body image for the models at fashion week through its Health Initiative,* which emphasizes that “health is beauty.” To promote this healthy lifestyle concept, CFDA’s Health Initiative encourages designers and others involved with fashion week to:
- Develop workshops for individuals involved in the fashion industry (i.e. models and their families) to raise awareness about eating disorders, including common warning signs, complications and treatment options.
- Provide healthy meals and snacks backstage at Fashion Week and at related activities.
- Offer fitness and nutrition education.
Although the Health Initiative does not require designers participate in or adhere to its proposed guidelines, it is still an important step toward making healthful change and raising awareness about eating disorders and body image issues in an incredibly body-conscious industry. It is possible that these guidelines can help spur a cultural change that creates movement toward embracing beautiful clothes that fit bodies of all shapes and sizes.
An increasing number of clothing lines are now catering to individuals with curvier figures, and they often feature plus size models in their advertising and runway shows. This diversification encourages fashion trends to empower and inspire. Ann Nahari, Los Angeles-based plus size fashion brand, planned to do just that during Fashion Week 2013.
“Plus size women are beautiful and deserve to be seen as such. Why shouldn’t they have the option to buy clothing which reflects that they are beautiful, stylish and chic?” said Sumiyyah Rasheed, Ann Nahari founder and head designer, in a press release** announcing the brand’s first presentation in the United States.
Christina Mendez, plus model who prides herself on helping others be a “happy, curvy you,” walked alongside “typically sized” models at this year’s New York Fashion Week for Adrian Alicea Haute Couture, bringing a different figure to the runways.
“I am truly honored Adrian Alicea selected me to represent ‘Couture Curves’,” said Mendez in an article on Daily Venus Diva.*** “With Adrian integrating a plus model alongside straight-sized models, he’s showcasing the beauty of fashion for everyone during New York Fashion Week.”
By not limiting the sizes of clothing on display on models at fashion week to the very thin, the everyday consumer is likely to feel less pressure to achieve a certain shape and size in order to wear the latest fashion trends. While adjusting society’s definitions of “healthy” and “beautiful” will not happen overnight, these small steps in an industry that is notoriously concerned with thinness will hopefully provide a shift in the way individuals view, think and talk about their bodies.
If you are concerned a friend or loved one may be struggling with an eating disorder or negative body image, visit Eating Recovery Center’s website to confidentially chat with a member of the Clinical Assessment Team to gain insight and learn what you can do to help.
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