The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has issued new guidelines that will prevent models under the age of 16 at New York Fashion Week.
The American Industry body, of which Dianne Von Furstenberg is president, is insisting that its members demand proof of age for all catwalk models.
The council issued voluntary guidelines after model Hailey Clauson, then 15, walked in Von Furstenberg’s runway show back in 2011. The designer said she was completely unaware of her being underage at the time.
In a letter to CFDA members she wrote; “It is to my horror that I discovered last Friday that in spite of me repeating that to my production and casting people, one girl slipped through the cracks. One girl who will be 16 in March walked my show last week!
“I was horrified and terribly embarrassed. From now on I will instruct my casting people to demand IDs. I encourage you to do the same.
“Please accept my apology. I am trying to be a good leader and set an example … so please please accept my apology.”
While the CFDA is putting designers on hold about underage models, it is continuing to take a back seat on underweight models. Unlike fashion capital Madrid, which in 2007 recommended that designers do not use models with a BMI of under 18.
But despite pressure, especially following deaths of some extremely emaciated models, the US body still refuses to issue a similar rule.
The organisation’s chief executive Steven Kolb said; “Designers share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the business, sending the message that beauty is health.
“While some models are naturally tall and thin and their appearance is a result of many factors, including genetics, youth, nutritional food, and exercise, other models have or develop eating disorders.
“Although we cannot fully assume responsibility for an issue that is as complex as eating disorders and that occurs in many walks of life, the fashion industry can begin a campaign of awareness and create an atmosphere that supports the well-being of these young women.”