In March of 2010, I attended a fashion forum, Health Matters: Weight and Wellness in Fashion, at Harvard Business School. The event was held by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, notorious designer and Project Runway judge Michael Kors and model Natalia Vodianova and it discussed the importance of staying healthy in the fashion industry. A lot of models are perfectly healthy but some are wasting away day by day due to eating disorders. These three individuals talked about new rules put in place for models that are trying to reduce disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Some of the newly instated regulations include no tobacco or alcohol products backstage at fashion shows, working hours are required to be less for young models and setting age requirements for young models.
Sponsored by the Harris Center for eating disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, the forum was very informative and deeply saddening at the same time. If you're lucky enough to be a model, then you don't have to be any thinner than you already are. So many young girls starve themselves then end up getting dropped by designers due to their unhealthy weight. Michael Kors told the audience that he has cookies and snack foods backstage at his shows and he won't hire models under eighteen because it's more likely for them to develop eating disorders than older models.
It was a huge wake up call that designers need to take precautions to avoid situations involving easting disorders. Vodianova explained the difficulties she went through as a young model working in foreign cities, she told the audience that eating disorders are used as an escape. Like I said before, it will continue to be an issue for years to come but prevention forums like this one will reach out to suffering models and help them seek recovery. Natalia Vodianova ended the conference on a high note informing the audience that, "It's in fashion now to be healthy."