Dear NYFW: Models Fight Back Against The Pressure To Lose Weight And Lack Of Diversity At Fashion Week

Models are sharing stories of the pressure they have felt to lose weight or the discrimination they have faced due to their skin colour with the hashtag #dearNYFW.

Their posts range from harrowing tales of casting calls, to inspiring messages calling for more diversity in fashion.

They come after as group of 35 models, including Iskra Lawrence, Ashley Chew and Carré Otis, published a searingly honest open letter to the fashion industry, calling for it to “prioritise health and celebrate diversity on the runway”.

Model Hartje Andresen has explained how this open letter has inspired so many to share their stories on Instagram.  

“#DearNYFW, as models, we care about each others’ health, so when we saw the findings from @ModelAllianceNY and @NEDAstaff ’s research study, we decided to stand together and use our platform to affect change.

“Please understand that it is part of the fashion industry’s responsibility to promote and encourage healthy bodies and diversity in age and ethnicity.”

“When I had my weight down to nearly 100 lbs, my hip circumference finally measured 34 inches, and I had my best fashion show seasons,” wrote Andresen.

“However, as an active person, I started breaking my ribs quite often, during exercise or by bumping into things. I was shocked to learn that being underweight had both caused my body to lose bone density, as well as affected my fertility.

“Even though the idea of gaining weight terrified me, I was very fortunate to have support through my agencies, who embrace who I am and see my health and fitness as an asset, as seen on the right.”

 Scroll down to see models share their stories.

“I am aghast at the accepted concept that [models] do not have the authority to speak on a topic that they overcame.”

“#DearNYFW I remember when I was 22 having my hopes and dreams shattered because I couldn’t participate in another season for what felt like the zillionth time. after constantly being turned away after my fluctuating size 35-36 hip was measured.”

“We have to stop telling women what they should look like and start celebrating the diversity of womanhood and humanity as a whole. It is so beautiful. Let’s open our eyes and widen the lens.”

“I’ve been told numerous times that I needed to lose inches off of my measurements to stack up to the taller girls. And after this [relationship] breakup I lost almost 15lbs and many inches off of my hips. But no one noticed. No agents, no clients. I had finally achieved the ideal hip measurement and it didn’t make one difference to my work. My hips were smaller but I was on the verge of tears at all times.”

”#DearNYFW i love my hair texture, I love my roots, i love my ethnicity & you should too.”

“It is hard to reset your ideal body image when it has gone too far. I hope that our daughters can one day see beauty in all figures and base happiness and success on inner strength and grace.”

“It is hard to remember that I am beautiful at my size and shape. I hope that with this fashion week clothing companies choose to embrace models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and backgrounds. We are all beautiful! Let’s make sure the industry represents that.”

“After educating myself and learning that most women are underweight because we’re trying to conform to society’s beauty standards and the weight I was at was actually my healthiest self, I finally accepted my body for what it was and losing any more weight would be detrimental to my health. Too thick to be straight sized and too thin to be plus sized. I just had to be me.”

 “The day this picture was taken, the photographer refused to let me return to set until I had eaten a plate of pasta—more than I had eaten at one sitting in months. I was so angry. Yet, he was the only person back then who pointed out I had a problem.”

“#DearNYFW my frame is fine. Extreme pressures to be bigger or smaller need to end.”

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