Organic Avenue addresses the controversy around its Fashion Week partnership

(Photo: Fanpop.com)


When the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Diane Von Furstenberg’s organization that works on initiatives to help models get healthier, announced that it was partnering with Organic Avenue for Fashion Week this year, the media erupted in anger.

Buzzfeed and Grubstreet published headlines about juice cleanses being half-off for models, saying chlorophyll and lettuce wraps are not what the overworked young women need, and ABC published a story that compared sending models to Organic Avenue to sending alcoholics to a bar.

The concerns are valid, and the conversation about helping models escape a culture that’s rife with unhealthy, dangerous eating (or not-eating) habits is an uber-important one. But it’s worth pointing out that the focus on cleansing was the media’s, not the company’s.

The partnership details are as follows: models get one free juice and 50 percent off all food and juices at any of the company’s locations. That does include cleanses, but none of the information presented to models mentioned it—it was presented as a fast, convenient way to grab some healthy grub while working long hours.

“This initiative is about healthy eating, not cleansing,” said OA’s senior VP of retail Jessie Gould. “Organic Avenue boutiques are stocked with healthy, nutritious, organic, sustainable foods including snacks, soups, entrees, salads, desserts, and nutrient-rich juices.”

No, the food is not generally protein-heavy, but it’s real, mostly plants, and way cleaner than what’s typically backstage at the shows. Here’s hoping that during Fashion Week, instead of popping open a Diet Coke for a pick-me-up, a few models will grab a green juice or a quinoa-kale salad, getting great nutrients, vitamins, and minerals instead. —Lisa Elaine Held

What do you think? Is the partnership a healthy or unhealthy one for Fashion Week models? Tell us, in the Comments, below!

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8 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. February 4th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    It’s a great idea and I’m sorry for OA that the media misconstrued their intent. Their food and juices are nutrient dense and highly energizing, perfect for a quick pick-me-up or healthy snack.

  2. February 4th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I applaud Organic Avenue for all they do to get people to eat healthier, more nutrient rich foods and juices. What a shame that their efforts were construed in such a negative light. Hopefully they will continue to grow and prosper despite the media circus.

  3. February 4th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Bravo Organic Avenue! Good press-bad press its all press! I just prepared an organic veggie-hummus platter for the contestants at our local Miss Door County Pageant, and the girls were SOOOO grateful. These poor girls are being asked to be pencil thin, while being offered donuts– It’s cruel and stupid. Nutrient dense calories is what they need! Organic Avenue you’ve got my business!

  4. February 4th, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I worked in fashion for a long time (too long!) as a designer. The fashion / model industry is rife with eating disorders. There is nothing wrong with being on the thin side, in fact eating less prolongs life if done correctly (plant-based, whole and nutrient rich foods). Fresh and organic companies are the perfect sponsors for models who might otherwise turn to artificial sweeteners, drugs and cigarettes to stay thin.

  5. February 4th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    How ridiculous that Organic Avenue is construed as a company that only pushes dieting and cleansing (yes part of its business is cleanses) but the cleanse idea involves encouraging us to consume more greens and nutrient-rich foods-not the idea of eating less and eating unhealthy foods- this positive OA philosophy is something we all, no matter what our job, could benefit from pondering on further.

  6. Deborah
    February 4th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    It’s unbelievable that the media would turn offering healthy organic fresh squeezed juices and nutrient rich foods to models into a negative thing. It’s widely known that te fashion industry supports and promotes unhealthy body image and types. all that the juice world aims to do is create more opportunity for the masses to have healthy balanced food sources and access to methods of detoxifying unhealthy toxins from the system.

    It’s lucky for the models that OA is supporting them during a hellish week. It would be great if more people could applaud them for the effort. Thanks Well & Good for keeping a finger on the pulse if what’s real.

    Green Pirate Juice

  7. February 4th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    The real problem is the distorted society we live in, not OA. Responsibility lies solely with fashion designers, magazine editors, and model agencies. They are not representing real women in the real world, instead they put the lives and health of vulnerable young models at risk. What can we women do? Well for starters don’t buy stupid fashion magazines and don’t buy into the lie that extreme ‘skinny’ is more beautiful and acceptable. Write to your favorite designers and demand they use normal weight models in shows and advertising campaigns.

  8. February 6th, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I had the pleasure of working with some of the Organic Avenue staff recently, on an event. They were positive, upbeat and very knowledgeable of their product line, which was very diverse, and every bit…healthy! Included a very impressive selection, of salads, wraps, sandwiches, vegan meals, soups, great snacks, desserts, smoothies, juices and yes, cleanses. Why the ignoranti of the media had to zero in on just one part of what was being offered, is beyond me. Kudos for OA for offering the models delicious, energizing alternatives to coffee and deli food. Many thanks for Well & Good for sharing the information.

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