Download the Fashion Council’s Model Guidelines

Download the U.S. Fashion Council Guidelines

In related blog commentary I enjoyed reading this post over at Cheat Seeking Missiles, written by a father with 2(?)daughters – but take issue with this last bit:

“Health advocates wail that these are merely recommendations, not regulations. The Fashion Council counters, “You’re going to be able to get more people involved in helping out by educating and teaching versus enforcing a ban,” according to WSJ.

That phraseology is what we in the PR profession knowingly refer to as a “lie.” Philosophically, I’m with them though, since I’m no fan of over-regulation of business. When consumers of fashion start protesting by punishing with their pocketbooks the purveyors of bolemia and anorexia, the industry will quickly regulate itself and Kate Moss will pack on the pounds.” (p.s. Laer, it’s bulemia).

Promoting fixed regulations concerns me too, however, resolving the skinny model issue is far more complex than simple economics. It is about the role, function and rights of the fashion model, about an industry (and society) that believes that thin=control=success, media who draw attention to the spectacle of starvation with bold headlines and editorials full of mixed messages, who produce photo after photo gleefully exposing the physical evidence of restraint on a woman’s body, and women and girls who have internalized these messages about the thin ideal since infancy.

In addition, couture is more like wearable art – and doesn’t really concern itself with the average fashion consumer, or the realities of women’s bodies. Christian Lacroix said, “Haute Couture should be fun, foolish and almost unwearable.” As anyone who watched the scene about cerulean in the Devil Wears Prada now knows, runway fashion is copied, diluted, mass-produced, and then filtered down through various retail stores – adopted by early trendsetters, and finally by those who won’t wear leggings until they show up at Old Navy. As such, the clothing that a woman wears is inseparable from its couture roots, and from the larger cultural context.

Bottom line: no amount of economic pressure is going to change the fashion industry, so long as the fashion designers, models, media, the average fashion consumer and her boyfriend still half-believe that being thin is social currency for success and well worth fighting for.

About This Author

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. Crosby spends her time managing PR Couture and mentoring fashion publicists through PRISM and Instappable, as well as the biannual NYC workshop, Fashion PR Confidential. Occasionally, she opens up limited consulting spots for emerging brands through her signature offering, The Brand Elixir.