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January 31, 2011  | by: Vanessa Douglas

Diane von Furstenberg with Models Dressed in Her Spring 2011 Collection

Diane von Furstenberg, creator of the famous wrap-dress and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has recently released suggestions to promote the well-being of models working during New York Fashion Week, as well as throughout the fashion world.

Ms. Furstenberg sent out an electronic list (which can be viewed at The Cut) detailing measures that can be taken to ensure that models are physically and emotionally sound, and that they receive plenty of help and support.

The list echoes the CFDA’s Health Initiative, which was created in 2007 to address the phenomenon of unhealthily thin models. Under the guideline, it states,

“Designers share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the business, sending the message that beauty is health.”

While this effort is admirable, the post over at The Cut makes a particularly astute observation. If the CFDA really wanted to promote that beauty is health, then why don’t designers just sign more diverse models?

It is important that the health of the models, who are essentially workers, is always considered, but why don’t designers show them that there are various ways to be beautiful, and that they don’t have to hurt themselves to achieve that? Especially in the wake of Isabelle Caro’s passing, it is necessary to confront the fact that there is a detrimental idea of how women are supposed to look.

Even though the fashion world does have to deal with the issue of model health, the CFDA’s attempt at addressing the matter, rather than trying to cover it up or ignore it, is respectable. The fashion world has a reputation for making women feel lesser-than, but recently, there has been a transformation. Individuals are embracing women of all physiques and, albeit slowly, their view of beauty is shifting.

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