View Full Version : Even Vogue now realizes models are too thin!
12th June 2009, 19:39
As reported in The Times today, the editor of British Vogue has castigated fashion designers for their promotion of anorexia.
Here is the link:
And the pertinent text:
Vogue editor launches new war on size-zero fashion
June 13, 2009
The editor of Vogue has accused some of the world’s leading catwalk designers of pushing ever thinner models into fashion magazines despite widespread public concern over “size-zero” models and rising teenage anorexia.
Alexandra Shulman, one of the most important figures in the multi-billion-pound fashion industry, has taken on all the largest fashion houses in a strongly worded letter sent to scores of designers in Europe and America. In a letter not intended for publication but seen by The Times, Shulman accuses designers of making magazines hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments for their photoshoots. Vogue is now frequently “retouching” photographs of models to make them look larger, she said.
Her intervention was hailed last night as a turning point in the debate over model size that has raged after the deaths of two models from complications relating to malnutrition, and the decision of leading fashion shows to ban size-zero models.
Baroness Kingsmill, who headed the 2007 model health inquiry on behalf of the British Fashion Council , said the stand taken by Shulman was “an encouraging sign” from one of the fashion industry’s “leading lights.”
Beat, Britain’s leading eating disorder charity, says that 1.1 million people are affected by anorexia or bulimia.
Shulman claims that the clothes created by designers for catwalk shows and subsequently sent to magazines for use in their photoshoots have become “substantially smaller”.
The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in the shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or fail to cover the latest collections from the leading designers.
“We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit the established star models,” Shulman writes, in a letter sent to Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and fellow designers at Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Balen- ciaga and other prominent fashion houses..
Vogue is considered the leading high-fashion magazine in the UK, with more than 220,000 readers.
Stephen Kolb, of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said Shulman’s letter was very relevant. “If a stylist is casting models that are unhealthy they shouldn’t work with them,” he said
Just think about how screwed up this industry is when even the anorexia-pushing magazine editors are finally realizing that promoting eating disorders by showcasing starving, skeletal models is a bad thing. Its about time.
12th June 2009, 20:50
Here's another article on the subject:
One person quoted in the article makes an especially significant observation, and points out the toxic truth:
Eleni Renton, founder of Leni’s Model Management, which handles Nathalie Suliman, the curvacious underwear model used by Marks & Spencer, said Ms Shulman was “absolutely right”. “There are so many people now who don’t seem to be designing for women. They are not making clothes for the female body. They are creating female clothes for a man’s body. No hips or bust. It’s absolutely preposterous. I think designers are responsible.”
At least Shulman understands how hostile the public really is to the emaciated look:
Back at Vogue, Ms Shulman links readers' revulsion at “angular models” to the recession. “We have done a certain amount of research on images,” she said. “We find people reading the magazine don’t want to see very thin girls. I also have a feeling that in the current climate, people actually want models who look more reassuring. I don’t think designers have caught on.”
But what do you think the chances are of this letter actually having an effect?
Notice this part in the article:
Ms Shulman sent the letter to all the world’s major designers. Domenico Gabbana, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Donatella Versace were all sent the missive noting her concerns. Designers at Burberry, Balenciaga, Valentino and Lanvin were also sent the letter.
She sent the letter at the end of last month and so far has had only a few responses, mainly from British designers. “They have mainly said yes, they agree, but their sample sizes are perfectly reasonable sample sizes.”
"Reasonable"? Anorexia is "reasonable"? Emaciation, androgyny are "reasonable"? And "creating female clothes for a man’s body" is "reasonable"?
Sure, to THEM, and to their perverted tastes.
As has been pointed out on this forum before, they simply don't care who suffers, who dies, or how many women's minds get warped, so long as they can impose their unnatural, toxic aesthetic. It's utterly pathological narcissism and self-absorption on the designers' part, which would be pathetic if it didn't also cause so much harm and misery.
These fashion designers are like willful, petulant children who will never make any concessions, make any changes, unless they are FORCED to do so by government regulation.
14th June 2009, 12:42
A bit of real horror in the second article - the picture that it included, which showed a model before and after photoshopping, supposedly to make her look larger. Yet she looks cadaverous in both pictures.
In the supposedly better "after" photo, she still looks like she's dying of starvation, while in the "before" photo she truly looks like a walking corpse.
It's incomprehensible that these are the fashion industry's visual parameters: either skeletal, or shrivelled and skeletal. How can any responsible individuals promote this grotesque, sickly look as any kind of "ideal"?
The news is getting a fair bit of media coverage:
It is the ultimate "size zero" backlash. The editor of Vogue has lambasted the world's top designers for making their clothes too tight for even the skinniest models.
In a letter sent to the biggest names in fashion, from Prada to Chanel, Alexandra Shulman has blamed fashion houses for forcing fashion magazines to find unrealistically tiny models to squeeze into their designs. Photos of models with "no breasts or hips" encourage eating disorders, which affect more than a million people in Britain...
Her letter to designers from Stella McCartney and John Galliano to Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen comes as new designers are being urged to "recast the beauty ideal" by designing catwalk clothes that might actually fit real women....
The supermodel Erin O'Connor...backed Ms Shulman's call for designers to rethink their sizing, fashion's dark secret that lies at the heart of the "size zero" furore, which has claimed the lives of several models who starved themselves to shoehorn their bodies into tiny catwalk designs. Ms Franklin added: "It's fantastic that Alex, from her position of power and respect, is saying that even Vogue has had enough."
Ms Shulman's letter pointed out that Vogue frequently had to retouch photographs to make models look larger – the opposite of the sort of vanity airbrushing that usually goes on at magazines. It is the first time that a fashion magazine has ever locked horns with designers over their skimpy sizes.
I wonder if all of the enthusiasm is warranted. After all, nothing has happened yet. She sent a letter.
A part of me wonders if this isn't simply a case of the magazine covering its tracks, trying to inoculate itself from public criticism for using starving models. The magazine wants to be able to say, "We can't help it. We're governed by what the designers provide. We sent them a letter, but they didn't listen." The want to absolve themselves of responsibility, when they're completely culpable too. After all, if they were serious, they could simply say to the designers "We won't feature your clothing unless you make samples in larger sizes." Let's not forget, the designers need the magazines.
As I see it, the one notable thing about this situation is that at least the public outcry has penetrated deeply enough that the magazine can't ignore it altogether. This "blame game" is not ideal, but it's a step up from a brush-off, as was the case till now.
Now the designers see that they really ARE in the cross-hairs; the media knows to target THEM when it comes to this serious issue. And that's a beginning.
It won't be enough. But it may be the forerunner of real pressure on them (legal pressure, government pressure) that WILL bring an end to the promotion of emaciation.
14th June 2009, 23:49
But why are these designers so attached to this look that they are determined to stay with it even when everyone else wants them to give it up?
15th June 2009, 07:34
The question of why the fashion industry pushes the anorexic look has been addressed on this site for a decade.
Two answers come to the fore. The first came closest to being revealed in the article posted in this thread:
The designer interviewed in that article stated point-blank that she was involved in social engineering. Her feminist agenda is represented by the androgynous model, emblematic of the androgynous woman, so that's what she insists upon. That's what she wants all women to be, and she wants "eliminate" (her word) everything that stands in her way.
So this feminist agenda is one major reason.
A second major reason, as a few brave individuals have noted, has to do with the sexual orientation of fashion designers, who are biologically inclined to dislike the womanly form, and seek to eradicate it in favour of an androgynous non-woman model, which suits their tastes.
Thus, you have two major forces coming together -- a feminist agenda to push androgyny for political reasons, and an aesthetic agenda by designers, photographers, editors, etc., to push androgyny for "taste" reasons, to suppress the natural feminine aesthetic that is inimical to them, and in its place to maintain the hipless, bustless look that they are hardwired to prefer.
But a third reason has also come to the fore recently. It is suggested in this article:
Sarah Shotton, head designer for Agent Provocateur, revealed that model agencies sent "girls so thin we have to ask them to leave".
"I actually think it has got worse since they started talking about skinny models a few years ago," she told The Observer.
That latter point is crucial, and it reveals something about the mentality of much of the fashion industry.
Like many people in the modern arts, these "artistes" have a deep-seated contempt for public opinion. They loathe it. And they derive great pleasure in metaphorically poking a finger in the eye of the general public. The more they outrage society, the more pleased they are with themselves.
This is the same kind of mindset that we see in the visual arts, where modern painters produce grotesque canvases with excrement and so forth. It's the same kind of mindset that we see in the modern opera world, where "avant-garde" directors produce anti-German productions of Wagner that spit on the composer's intentions and values in favour of twisted, offensive productions.
To people of this mindset, the public is a vast "bourgeoisie" that they are trying to "educate." It validates their sense of superiority if they outrage the populace. And they don't care -- they really don't -- how many women suffer and die as a result of their pig-headedness.
So that is a third development that has developed recently, in addition to the first two reasons, which started the whole process. Now, it has become a childish "You can't make me!" attitude, dressed up with typical left-leaning contempt for so-called "bourgeois" tastes (which really means, natural human taste).
For all of these reasons, this letter, while a noble attempt, is not sufficient by itself. External pressure to eradicate the fashion industry's anorexic standard is necessary if anything is ever going to change.
15th June 2009, 14:05
And it's not just fashion that pushes this so-called "ideal", but media in general. Actresses are painfully thin these days. Our culture is locked in to the "thin equals beauty" standard, and change will have to come from the general population. We as a society have to reject what is being offered, and we have a way to go before enough of us wake up and realize the mass deception.
There is an economic side to this that has also been discussed in these forums. It's not just the money the diet industry is making. Money is also being spent to keep the skinny-rules status quo. If women are kept down, kept from realizing that they are beautiful, they can be controlled by the media. They are kept from flowering, hung up on a meaningless side road, never seeing the bigger picture.
Women need to be freed from the tyranny of the size-zero ideal, but only they can free themselves. Not until women everywhere realize for themselves that they have been manipulated, and reject the false ideal of these times, will they be liberated from this evil. Yes, evil! Fashion and media are subjugating women for both profit and control, and women are being hurt by this. Some have died from anorexia; many have an image of themselves they see as wanting, and are unhappy with themselves as a result. Most can never achieve the so-called standard of beauty proffered them and suffer for it. Those who do achieve it have been misled, for emaciation was never beautiful, except in the warped minds of the designers.
I celebrate the plus-size models who embrace the Timeless Ideal and show the way back to sanity in a world gone mad. I celebrate this site, this tiny speck of Truth amidst a mountain of lies. Perhaps someday in the not-so-distant future we will return to embrace classical beauty once again.
17th June 2009, 03:43
Only in the fashion industry can a few marginal individuals with perverted tastes impose their aesthetic on the world- on the whole world- and be allowed to do it, even though it directly causes eating disorders, and untold misery on women. What gives their "taste" priority over health and well-being?
If someone's "taste" was to watch people being tortured, they couldn't have their taste gratified. So why have the designers been allowed to get away with inflicting so much misery on society for so long? The time for government intervention is way past due.
The fact that the magazines are airbrushing models to make them look larger is a double-edged sword. In a way, it's better than if they were not doing it, but it's still just a false solution. In fact, it might even be exacerbating the problem because it still allows designers to keep producing samples in toxically unhealthy sizes, and it keeps the public from seeing just how serious this problem is. The models now really do look like concentration-camp victims.
In another article, Shulman gets some praise for this move:
A significant passage:
Eleni Renton, a leading model agent who has pioneered the use of healthy-looking girls, said: "It is about time that somebody stood up to the designers, and it is hugely brave of Alexandra to come out and say there is a problem.
"I have had girls turn up to shoots and not be able to fit into the samples and these are model-size, slim women.
"It has become ridiculous and for too long, designers have been getting away with making clothes that are simply not designed for normal women."
Hilary Alexander, the Telegraph’s fashion director, said: “I totally support Alex and addressing this issue is long overdue.
“Her call now needs to be backed by all the other glossy magazine editors, who must join the chorus if they want to see a change within the fashion industry. One lone voice will not be enough."
The last point is especially true, and Hilary Alexander deserves some credit for her own past efforts. If you remember, she gave Charlotte Coyle a main article in the Telegraph a few seasons ago, praising her as an anti-waif. And she's absolutely right- it isn't enough for Vogue to do it alone; ALL of the fashion editors need to take up this cause. And not just with letters and publicity (although that's at least something), but with point-blank rules stating that they WILL NOT shoot samples below a certain size. Period.
But this is the whole problem- each entity in the fashion industry is blaming the other (designers on model agencies, magazines on designers, etc.), and the result is they all give cover to one another. It has to change all at once- everyone, every entity, all need to be compelled to reform their practices together.
I'd like to believe that this industry could be reformed through Shulman's letter, but I haven't seen any evidence that it will BE. Drug manufacturers can't produce killer drugs, or they'll be pulled off the shelf, and the manufacturers forced to make them safe. Likewise, fashion is a killer drug that needs to be legislated into ending its poisonous influence.
17th June 2009, 18:28
Like many people in the modern arts, these "artistes" have a deep-seated contempt for public opinion. They loathe it. And they derive great pleasure in metaphorically poking a finger in the eye of the general public. The more they outrage society, the more pleased they are with themselves.
To people of this mindset, the public is a vast "bourgeoisie" that they are trying to "educate." It validates their sense of superiority if they outrage the populace. And they don't care -- they really don't -- how many women suffer and die...
So now, it has become a childish "You can't make me!" attitude, dressed up with typical left-leaning contempt for so-called "bourgeois" tastes (which really means, natural human taste).
All true. This is exactly the psychology of the individuals that we're dealing with. Like typical modern artists, the designers hate the very people whose money supports their lifestyles. They hate their customers, they hate family and motherhood, they absolutely despise "Middle America" and anything associated with it, especially women with feminine curves.
And if they think that they're outraging the public, they get a sick enjoyment out of that, and an ego boost. If the public hates them, they love it. If people are outraged, they revel in it. Their reaction is that of the sociopath.
They're going to keep making samples smaller and smaller, just to "show us they can." Basically, their thinking is on the level of "Nyah, nyah, nyah." That's the emotional level at which they're operating. And like the cowardly bullies that they are, they'll keep spreading physical and mental sickness until the government actually forces them to stop.
It was a mistake to ever think that these people would care if they were shown that their twisted, starvation standard were causing suffering, misery, and even death. That would require a basic, human level of empathy, which they completely lack. This is an industry that cannot reform itself, so reform must be forced on it.
18th June 2009, 06:14
The Guardian printed a sort-of response from designers to Shulman's letter. Well, at least it printed one response from one designer.
Funnily, the piece is titled "Fashion Houses Hit Back," but the designer who is quoted doesn't really seem to disagree with Shulman. What he does, though, is predictably ascribe the blame to someone else - in this case, to the model agencies:
Designers yesterday insisted it was a "vicious cycle" that would require the whole industry to work together if it was to be broken.
"If tomorrow all magazines, model agencies and stylists used bigger girls, then the designers would too," said designer Kinder Aggugini, who has worked at Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and Calvin Klein.
"I agree with Alex. Now all designers have to do a collection for the catwalk and then we have to take it back to the manufacturer and completely resize it because human beings are not giraffes like models. Most women would not be able to wear the catwalk clothes, the proportions would be wrong."
He also agreed with Shulman's assertion that sample clothes for shoots had become far smaller. "Up until the early 90s, it wasn't like that; the catwalk collection was much bigger."
But he added: "When I go through the agency books, the sizes of the girls are pretty consistent. The girls who work the most are of a consistent size - the same height, shape. When we make samples, we make samples to fit that consistent model size. The size zero is a trend that's gone on too long, but it's a vicious cycle."
"Vicious cycle" - no kidding. Vicious to the women who are brainwashed by the fashion industry, which is virtually all women. Especially vicious to those who suffer and die.
It's absolutely true, as the designer asserts, that the whole fashion industry needs to change. But his comments make it sound like because that's the case, designers are off the hook. "We won't do it, because they have to change first." Christ, with that attitude nothing will ever change, because every institution involved will be saying "We can't change until they change." How convenient!
But it's complete B.S., and self-contradictory, because by the designer's own admission, samples DID become smaller, from the '90s onwards. Therefore, the kind of "change" that supposedly can't happen DID happen - it happened in fashion at that time. So either the whole fashion industry changed all together once before, or that change happened because some part of it started to use ever-more emaciated models, and other parts of the fashion industry subsequently followed along. Either way, change DID happen before, and therefore it can happen again.
If fashion can change to make models smaller, as it did, then it can change to make models bigger.
Why don't any of the reporters ever call these people on their B.S.? It's Logic 101. It's not hard. All of their assertions are self-contradictory.
As for models at agencies being only one size, that is of course a complete falsehood. The designer can't pretend that plus-size models don't exist. Those models ARE there. He's just not using them. And if the designers asked for more models of a larger size, the agencies would represent even more of them.
So clearly, fashion could change. It just refuses to do so. And that, as other have said, is why a top-down edict from the government is needed for change to happen.
22nd June 2009, 14:45
So one noted designer has finally come out in support of Shulman's entreaty, but in dire circumstances.
Famed Parisian couturier Christian Lacroix's label is bankrupt.
In this article, Lacroix addresses Shulman's concerns:
Today's size zero culture, which recently provoked Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, to send a letter to all major designers asking them to make larger sizes, is another cause for concern. "She was right to do that. Very skinny women don't look beautiful in clothes. What I cannot stomach, because it evokes the war to me, is when you can see a woman's kneecap protruding in its entirety, skinny elbows, or a woman's chest bones. I won't tell you who they are because it would be hurtful, but there are certain models I cancelled jobs with because they were too thin. It's a terribly sad cloning of young women today which actually means that there is no room for anything to stand out – except bones." Very sensible words. However, the grim fact is that the models on Lacroix's runways have been just as emaciated as the girls at the other couture shows. Or if there has been a difference, it's been imperceptible.
If Lacroix really is against the anorexic standard, as he claims to be, then he could easily do something about it. His rival designer, Gaultier, once used a plus-size model, which proves that if designers did care about this issue, did want to change the standard, then they could do it easily. Conversely, since fashion does use "very skinny women" who "don't look beautiful in clothes" (as Lacroix himself admits), then it's his own fault, and the fault of the other designers.
The irony is that Lacroix says the following:
To many, I tell him, haute couture is so baffling that they consider it natural it should lose its place in today's world. "But fashion isn't something dead," he says. "Fashion needs to be worn. People are wrong when they see it as being disconnected from reality: every morning, before I sit down to draw, I read all the papers, listen to the radio and find out what is going on in Iran – all that influences me. Besides, in periods of crisis, people need to see beautiful things around them." Absolutely true! That's why people need to see beautiful models around them, not girls who look like concentration-camp victims. If Lacroix believes in beauty, as he claims he does, then he could create it by featuring Classically curvaceous models, not walking skeletons who are "disconnected from reality."
Incidentally, the article also refutes the claims that plus-size fashion is singularly struggling in the recession. Clearly, top-drawer fashion is being crippled as well.
Perhaps if Lacroix had, in fact, used fuller-figured, more beautiful models, then his label would be doing better.
13th September 2009, 15:06
There was a follow-up article to this topic today in the Telegraph. It's very frustrating.
Her tone seems to be, "I've written my letter, so I'm off the hook now. Talk to the designers." What a crock. It's a typical case of someone in the fashion-industry shifting the blame, again - saying the right things, but doing NOTHING.
While Shulman may not fret over her own weight, she does have concerns about designers' determination to use super-skinny models in shows and magazines. In June, a copy of an angry letter she wrote to designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and designers at Prada, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent was leaked.
In it, she accused designers of supplying magazines with such "minuscule" garments for their photoshoots that they were forced to use models with "jutting bones and no breasts or hips" to fit the clothes.
"We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don't comfortably fit the established star models," she wrote, adding that the Vogue was now having to "retouch" the models to make them look larger.
It was an unprecedented stand on the "size zero" issue from someone in her position, where keeping designers happy in return for precious advertising revenue is all important. Why rock the boat?
"I wrote it because it was something I'd been thinking about for quite a long time," she explains. "And there was one incident which happened in the magazine – it was something that I wanted to shoot on somebody and I wasn't able to because they couldn't fit the dress and they were really quite a small person. I just thought, this is insane.
"That was the trigger that really made me think about trying to talk to the designers about it but it was also a way of addressing the issue that was something very specific, because I think that everyone just saying, oh well, we want to see f**ter models isn't a particularly constructive or helpful way to address the issue.
"One of the things I felt I could do was try and affect the people we could photograph in the magazine. My job is to show fashion in this magazine, and if I can't show people in the clothes, then that limits the amount of people I can feature. So it seemed to me to be one way of trying to raise the issue."
Despite such a sharp shot across the boughs, Shulman admits that most designers are reluctant to admit there is a problem. "A couple of people have said yes you're right, we're going to do something about it, but I wouldn't say, in the main, that's been the response.
"Most people have thought about it and on the whole don't feel that the sample sizes they produce are too small – they feel that they are reasonable for the job they are meant to do."My god. And what is that "job"? To make millions of women suffer from eating disorders, and ruin the body image of virtually every else, even pre-teen girls? To cause models to starve themselves literally to death? If that's the "job they are meant to do," then oh, yeah, they're doing the job; just like a toxin would do the job of poisoning someone.
Shulman pauses, then sighs when I ask her if she thinks the designers will be sending Vogue larger sample sizes for photoshoots for next season's collections. "No. I don't expect in the next season I'm going to see anything particularly huger.
"I do think the fashion industry is a little bit out of touch at the moment with this. There is a real feeling that an appreciation of more diverse shapes is what people want. Cookie-cutter is less appealing than it used to be...I think it will change, but slower than I would like to see it change." This is the most absolute rubbish.
"I think it will change." HOW? By continental drift? By divine intervention? As the editor of Vogue, Shulman is the only person who could make the change happen. Or prevent it. If change is not happening, it's because Shulman and other editors are not making it happen.
If she were to say to the designers, "That's it - we'll only photograph your wares in larger sizes," they'd have to change. If she just keeps shooting whatever anorexic sizes they send, then change will never happen.
But boy, do Shulman's comments ever confirm what everyone on this forum has been saying all along: fashion will never change on its own. Shulman sounds like she feels that she's done all she's going to do. She's sent out a letter. I.e., she's covered herself, deflected media criticism. The designers, obviously, are never going to change on their own. Their curve-o-phobia is so deeply ingrained that they will never change.
This industry is incapable of self-reform. It needs to be forced, from the outside, from government regulation, to stop producing anorexia-promoting imagery and to start producing healthy images, or it will keep ruining the lives of women forever.
While it's good that Shulman wrote her much-reported letter, everyone immediately knew that it would change nothing, and that it wasn't enough. She has the power to do much more - and she must. This is literally a life-and-death issue.
14th September 2009, 01:49
Here's something in the article that Hannah just posted that I found shocking:
Dame Vivienne believes magazines should be forced to use a certain proportion of black and Asian models on their pages, even if its hits their circulation.
Shulman, though keen to feature more diversity in her magazine, thinks that is unrealistic. "We live in a primarily Caucasian country in terms of skin colouring and on the whole, people buy magazines that seem to be about people like themselves
Okay, Shulman's point about the U.K. being primarily Caucasian, and therefore most models can be Caucasian, is fair. But therefore, her stance must be applied to size as well. Since people in the U.K. (and in the U.S.) live in a primarily [plus-size] country in terms of [size] and on the whole, people buy magazines that seem to be about people like themselves,then most models should be plus-size! Over 50% of women are plus-size, therefore over 50% of models should be plus-size. That is Shulman's own logic. How can she apply that standard to one aspect (colour), and not apply it to another aspect (size)?
It's also appalling to hear of Shulman wishing for more "government help and grants" for the fashion industry. For what? For spreading eating disorders? For requiring models to starve themselves? For ruining women's body image? And she wants people's taxes to pay for that?
If the fashion industry wants one red cent of public money -- i.e., of people's tax dollars -- then it should be forced to change its grotesque and damaging size standards completely, and start exclusively featuring images of models in sizes that will not damage body image, but will help it -- as images of plus-size models have been proven to do (in studies by Dr. Helga Dittmar, et al).
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