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​cfda highlight diversity and model health ahead of new york fashion week

Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb have written an open letter to designers to encourage them to represent the diversity of New York in their casting, and to protect model health.

by Charlotte Gush
|
30 January 2016, 1:43am

Presidents of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb have written an open letter to designers reminding them to reflect and celebrate the diversity of New York in their casting for both men's and women's fashion week, and to follow the CFDA's guidelines for protecting model health.

"New York is the most diverse city in the world," they write in the short letter, which notes that catwalk diversity is getting better, but that, "We'd like to remind you to keep celebrating that diversity," with a link to the brief but meaningful guidelines drawn up by Balance Diversity, the initiative started by activist and former model Bethann Hardison and supported by Iman and Naomi Campbell.

The letter also highlights the CFDA's Health Initiative, which was set up in 2007, "...to address what has become a global fashion issue: the overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin, and whether or not to impose restrictions in such cases". The guidelines assert that, "Designers share a responsibility to protect women, and very young girls in particular, within the business, sending the message that beauty is health," asking them not to hire models under 16 and to provide healthy snacks and water backstage, among other things.

New York Fashion Week Men runs 1 - 4 February, with the women's shows from 11 - 18 February.