London Fashion Week 2016… Where’s the fat?

Just to explain why you’re seeing a post that isn’t about me and what I made. This is part of my journalism course. Thoughts on London Fashion Week! 🙂

 

London Fashion Week 2016 is over; we’ve seen all the stunning skinny models swaying down the catwalk. Key word: “skinny”.
Why are they still so thin? It seems that in 2016 we are still seeing no change in the image of models – models showing us what clothing to wear and who to be.

The Guardian - London Fashion Week

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

I’m aware that anorexia and other eating disorders are not all about body image and wanting to be fashionably thin, so I’m choosing not to go that far into the health side of things. But we can’t ignore that our general self-esteem is influenced by celebrities and models looking unbelievably gorgeous and stick-thin – you can’t argue with that! Everyone compares themselves with what/who they see on TV/online/in magazines to some degree. It might not make you ill, but it can make you feel rubbish. Even my preschooler looks at a picture of a thin blonde in a magazine and comments on her beauty. Disney’s probably got something to do with that, too, but that’s beside the point.

Is it fair to be made to feel fat and ugly when you’re so much as a smidgen above a size O? No, surely? Yet we are still being exposed to images of people who are not actually normal!

the guardian feb 2016 lfw

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

As reported in the Evening Standard, Carole White, co-founder of London’s Premier Model Management has even admitted that designers only want “young, flat-chested girls”, who will flatter their clothing; the clothes should “fall as they were designed to”. “The designers want straight up and down – no boobs,” she says. Carole’s agency “scouts in schools” because she says the girls that labels want are “really young”.
So do we blame the designers? Are they limiting the type of models the agencies can use?
Call me pessimistic, but if it’s due to the big designers designing clothing only suited to young, slim, straight up and down body shapes, I personally don’t see them changing any time soon.

lfw the guardian feb 2016

Image credit: The Guardian, Feb 2016

The good news is that somebody (specifically a gentleman named Marc Levine) is trying to do something about it. As reported by Reuters, on Monday, Levine (a California state assembly member) proposed a new law to ensure that a physician certifies models to be healthy before they take part in fashion gigs. Modelling agencies could be fined under the proposed law, if they are found to hire models that are found to be underweight or suffering from an eating disorder.
Personally I think it’s quite a good idea and similar laws are already present in Madrid and Israel. If passed, perhaps the UK will adopt a similar stance. Hopefully it would help to prevent teenage girls from aspiring to be like the super-thin models currently walking the catwalk. But if the designers carry on designing frocks with no room for boobs and bum… what choice will the modelling agencies have?

You know what I think? I think the designers would look so good if they targeted their clothing at “bigger” (aka “normal”) figures. Imagine the attention they’d get from the press, the media, little old you and me. But they’re too dead set in their ways to care about changing.

 

The long and short of it is this: The fashion industry as a whole is to blame for the low self-esteem of girls. That’s unlikely to change. I will eat my hat if there’s a model with a bit of shape on her in the next LFW. It’s a sad thing, but I can’t see it changing its whole image any time soon. The fashion industry is in a league of its own. Campaigners are getting nowhere!

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22 thoughts on “London Fashion Week 2016… Where’s the fat?

  1. In the uk you can always pay a doctor to get the certificate you want! I passed a sea farers medical with a bmi of 16 and serious anaemia. Why? Because the company I was working for wanted me so when I failed my medical they took me to a private hospital and paid for it! Happens in the dance world all the time, would happen in modelling too x

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  2. I agree with you, but even in fashion design school people draw those little sketches of their designs on stick skinny models. Most high fashion does look a lot better on super skinny people when it doesn’t cross over into the super-stupid like the pink peach comforter/ mobile sleeping bag you pictured. That actually made me snort when I imagined an overweight model truckin down the runway wearing that puffy monstrosity lol. The designer did capture our secret desire to stay in bed all day however.. 😉 Nicely written article.

    The models themselves finally did form a union semi-recently in 2011? something like that anyway. They’ve at least started to get some control over the abuse they suffered in the industry.

    By the way I do think the sizing system should be revamped into something that makes sense as well but I know that will NEVER happen due to people who don’t want to admit their real size… *holds up a “Down With Vanity Sizing!” sign.*

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  3. I think the media and modelling agencies are to blame for the sad, pathetic images of undernourished models on the catwalk. They are a very bad influence on young impressionable teenagers to-day. I think a Marilyn Monroe figure is quite normal and lovely. In Israel there is a new law that a model has to be a certain normal weight to be accepted by an agency, after many models tragically became sick with anorexia and sometimes died.

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  4. I’ve never understood the point of designing for people who in no way represent the majority of humans who wear clothes. If a designer needs their clothes to ‘drape properly’ and this can only be done on a woman who has no curves whatsoever, then perhaps they should be designing for men. Or fenceposts.

    It feels as though fashion is becoming less relevant and accessible as each year passes. I never look at the fashions coming down a catwalk and imagine myself wearing them, which makes me wonder why people are even designing the clothes in the first place. Is it for art, or for people to wear? If it’s to make abstract art that has no reference to the human body underneath it, then that’s fine – that makes sense. If there’s an implication that these things are meant to be worn, then they’re way off the mark.

    This is why I love following sewing blogs: they provide examples of actual people wearing actual clothes that I might actually want to make (and wear) myself!

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  5. This was a really interesting blog post to read Beth, and on a subject I’ve been thinking about over this last week in particular.
    I’ve visited a few ‘high street’ stores and have been surprised at the amount of advertising I’ve seen with models who do not look healthy. I think there are many problems with sizing and body image within the fashion industry, but not only with using models who are ‘skinny’. There are a few stores that I simply don’t visit because I can’t even get into their jeans, and I see myself as a pretty ‘average’ size! I also don’t really understand why stores have ‘plus size’ sections…so I could fit into a Large in the ‘normal’ clothes or a Small in the plus size clothes??!! How does that even make sense?! Why do we have to label any woman?! Why do larger women have to shop in separate sections?!
    Many problems, many questions…and like you said, it’s unlikely any of it will change 😦

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    • The whole industry has gone mad! Good point – why do we have to label a woman? Hmm. The whole sizing system needs scrapping and re-doing! How about we make our own clothes? Now there’s an idea 😀

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  6. Well said and well written Beth!! 🙂 I work with young people (both male and female) and part of my job is to challenge some of these issues to promote body confidence and self esteem. We look at famous people with shape and (such as Adele) and explore what beauty is. The Dove campaign has been really influential in this area and they have come up with some great time lapse videos which shows how models are airbrushed to achieve the perfect photograph (I think you can still watch them on Youtube. I agree, the fashion industry really needs to take a long, hard look at itself!

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    • Adele’s an interesting point because she’s getting smaller and smaller! Yes there are some fab videos online about how people photoshop images, I’ve seen a couple. I hope every teen sees them! Your job sounds great! 🙂

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  7. I agree with everything you said. In my opinion, it’s harder to showcase the clothes because the girls showcasing them don’t even look like the average human. They look stretched and skinny to the point that it just looks like a health concern. I really hope that changes soon.

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  8. Thats a great piece of writting Beth! I agree that the fashion industry only pays lip service to the whole body image issue. Personally I truly believe also that our roles as mothers is far more crucial than what is constantly potrayed in media. When a daughter grows up and her mother always checks her weight- is constantly dieting and complaining about being too this that or the other – then media only serves to strengthen those body issues. My mum wasnt ever bothered about being skinny in fact she deapised skinniness and always complained if our collar bones showed consequently my sisters and I were never bothered about weight. But she always complained about lack of the big bum and boobs and – no surprises- we all went through periods of poor body image because we thought our butts werent J Lo enough 😣. Its crazy but that simple act of accepting and loving ourselves as we are can pass to our children. Its something along the lines of “kids pick up more what you do than what you say”. I pity most of the super skinny girls I see on the catwalk. They go through immense deprivation to look like that. I also pity people that find that attractive because there ia a certain sadism about like the starved look. Only regulation can change the industry – left to its own devices they wont be scouting in schools anymore. They will just go straight to places like Sudan or Eritrea where there are actually people starving and a skinnier than what’s on the catwalk. Sad indictment of the industry really.

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    • Thanks Hila. You’re so right!! We shouldn’t take any notice of other people’s bodies and be thankful of what we have. So many mixed messages for our children! I didn’t think that the agencies would just go abroad. That’s so sad. 😦

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