#DearNYFW – An Open Letter to the American Fashion Industry

We’ve been hearing for years about how the American fashion industry’s promotion of extreme thinness contributes to unhealthy weight control practices among models, right? Well, a study published recently in the International Journal of Eating Disorders shows that models do in fact feel pressured by their employers to lose weight and that this leads them to engage in not-so-healthy weight control practices that can be a catalyst for the development of an eating disorder.

In an open letter released just yesterday, the researchers, the National Eating Disorders Association, the Model Alliance, and more than 30 leading models are teaming together to challenge the American fashion industry to commit to promoting health as well as diversity on the runway during New York Fashion Week beginning on February 9th. They’re asking consumers to step up to the plate too to in support of these initiatives by signing an online petition.

Eating disorder advocates around the world are joining in, and REbeL is behind these efforts. Are you? We encourage you to read the letter below and to sign the petition by clicking here.

Dear Members of the American Fashion Industry,

As models, we care about each other’s health and wellbeing. As we look toward New York Fashion Week, we strongly urge you to prioritize health and celebrate diversity on the runway this season.

Concerns about the fashion industry’s promotion of extreme thinness are nothing new but a recent research study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders confirms that unhealthy weight control practices are a serious problem in the industry. Too often, models are being pressured to jeopardize their health and safety as a prerequisite for employment.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health concern and survivors often suffer irreversible damage to their health. That is why we have teamed up with the Model Alliance and the National Eating Disorders Association to address this issue.

Together, we are challenging you to make a serious commitment to promote health and diversity on the runway. Through our social media platforms, which collectively reach millions of people, we will recognize the industry leaders who step up to this challenge. Specifically, we will keep an eye out for diversity of race, size, age, and gender status, and we hope to see diversity within and across all of those categories.

No one likes the hassle or expense of increased regulations and paperwork. However, data shows that the American fashion industry has yet to prove that it is capable of following healthy practices on its own.

Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to send the message that diversity is what makes us strong. We sincerely hope that all of you – from designers and editors to agents and casting directors – will collectively harness the industry’s creative power to be forward thinking, inclusive, and do the right thing.

In solidarity,

Yomi Abiola
Olesia Anisimovich
Caitriona Balfe
Te’sa Ballanco
Afiya Bennett
Madison Caudill
Yaris Cedano
Ashley Chew
Lily Cummings
Lisa Davies
Karen Elson
Nikki Dubose
Karen Elson
Kenza Fourati
Miranda Frum
Marianne Garces
Alessandra Garcia-Lorido
Lily Goodman
Meredith Hattam
Madeline Hill
Sabina Karlsson
Iskra Lawrence
Amy Lemons
Jessica Lewis
Jasmine Lobe
Briauna Mauria
Taylor McKay
Lizzie Miller
Alison Nix
Carré Otis
Shivani Persad
Renee Peters
Marquita Pring
Missy Rayder
Madisyn Ritland
Geena Rocero
Jennie Runk
Madison Schill
Tonya Sharma
Ingrid Sophie Schram
Alyona Shishmareva
Alise Shoemaker
Jennie Thwaites
Bree Warren
Monica Watkins
Elettra Wiedemann
Sara Ziff
Also supporting the models in the effort is the JAG Modeling Agency and the We Speak Agency.

JB Signature
Jessica Betts, MS, RD, LD
Program Director
REbeL, Inc.