Getting the Skinny on Models’ Health in the Fashion Industry

Jacob, one of Canada’s high street fashion brands, is working in conjunction with another Canadian heavy-hitter in the fashion industry, Coco Rocha.  In Jacob’s most recent advertising campaign, this dynamic duo proudly takes a stand against “photoshopping” of models in the fashion industry.  

Apparently, what you see is what you get.  There is no engineering of the photograph to enhance Coco’s cleavage, lengthen her leg, brighten her teeth, smooth out her blemishes, etc.
This is a welcome change – I applaud it! 

(Of course, let’s be realistic!  Coco Rocha is one of Canada’s most coveted models.  Long, lean, light.  It’s doubtful that she would really need any photoshopping.  Nevertheless, I appreciate what Jacob and Coco are doing.)

We all know that the fashion industry applauds the skinny model: Kate Moss and Twiggy are infamous for their waif looks.  Models on the catwalk can be disturbingly skinny.  Being able to count all of a model’s ribs can be a distraction from the clothes that hang off her skeletal frame.  And this isn’t just contained to the catwalk models.  Next time you’re in a store, take a look at the size of the clothes the mannequin is wearing.  Oftentimes it’s the smallest size possible.  And even then the clothes are pinned onto the mannequin as the clothes may be a little loose.  This is irritating.  (Don’t get me started on hiring pre-pubescent children as models for women’s clothing.)

So, thank you Jacob and thank you Miss Rocha for this new collaboration.  

CanadaFashionLaw also wants to give a shout out to the Council of Fashion Designers of America (“CFDA”).  In January 2007, CFDA, concerned with the proliferation of child models and anorexic models in the fashion industry, launched an initiative (the CFDA Health Initiative) looking into the health of models.  Creating guidelines, workshops and industry awareness campaigns on creating health work environments, CFDA has had some success in creating a dialogue and an awareness. 

Earlier on this year, CFDA went a step further and launched the CFDA Health Initiative Ambassador Program.  Getting buy in from top model agencies such as DNA Model Management and IMG Models, this program looks to recruit healthy and successful models to mentor the new fresh faces of the fashion industry.  The program also educates the next generation of models on healthy lifestyles, relying on the expertise of nutritionist and eating disorder therapists.  

All in all, these are positive steps forward.