New York Fashion Week is kicking off in a few days, but before we delve into the shows, the CFDA would like to remind the members of its organization to please not be that guy during Fashion Week. CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg and CEO Steven Kolb penned a letter to the New York fashion community, urging it to be wary of using underage and unhealthy-looking models on the runway and to be more diligent about diversity this season and beyond.
In the missive, the pair condemns any use of models under age 16 on the runway, adding a link to the organization’s Health Initiative guidelines for reference. They also plead with designers to “at a minimum” follow the labor laws for models in New York under the age of 18. “Remember, we must consider the emotional and physical well-being of these young women.”
Kolb and von Furstenberg also address the diversity issue, saying that the CFDA is working with Bethann Hardison’s Balance Diversity to help bring more color to the runways this season. The letter references a document listing guidelines for diversity in the industry, which, for example, encourages casting directors to specifically ask agencies to send more models of color to be considered for shows. “Our objective is to make a shift on how the model of color is viewed so it becomes natural to see them participating each season in a greater number than seasons past,” the memo reads.
So, designers: No funny business this season. The CFDA is asking for the American fashion community to mind its Ps and Qs to avoid reverting to the problematic habits the industry has fostered over the years. Hopefully, the designers are listening.