London Fashion Week and Anorexia: Are we making any progress?




Diane von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, took the initiative a few years ago of issuing guidelines for New York Fashion Week (CFDA’s Health Initiative) to ensure that models were healthy and stayed healthy. That was a brave move to tackle eating disorders in the modelling industry.


The initiative started in 2007 to address the health concerns that models were unnaturally thin and giving the wrong example to young women.


The controversial quote from supermodel Kate Moss: ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ caused plenty of media and industry speculation – are we going too far?


What has happened since the start of the Health Initiative?


London Fashion Week gives us an opportunity to look back and come up with some conclusions.


New York Fashion Week 2014 was the first season where new, tighter laws on protecting child models have been introduced.


Model Tabitha Farrar explains in Elephant Journal: “anorexia involves a complex matrix of conflicting behaviors and reactions that are not well understood and are often judged”


In her personal account, she describes how her modelling agency wanted her to put on weight. She was already suffering from anorexia before being scouted and her weight problem worsened over time. She was dropped from the agency’s books after two years. She is very adamant about the link we all make between anorexia and the fashion industry: “The fashion industry did not contribute to my eating disorder”.


A campaign to ban size zero models from London Fashion Week started in 2007.


Madrid Fashion Week banned size zero models from 2006.


The size zero debate is no longer making headline news. Searches to this end brought no results for this year.


Is the problem “fixed” then? Or has it stopped being “fashionable”?