View Full Version : Fashion evades responsiblity - again

11th February 2010, 21:23
Anyone who has any remaining doubts about how contemptible the people who run the fashion industry are, and how urgently this toxic industry needs government oversight, needs to read this appalling article:


What it's about:

The panel talk was part of the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Health Initiative. The CFDA began convening these meetings annually in January, 2007, which was shortly after two models in South America, Ana Carolina Reston and Luisel Ramos, died of complications from eating disorders, and just before a third, Eliana Ramos, was killed by the same disease.
The panel included, among others, Doutzen Kroes (the ever-so-slightly-non-emaciated skinny model), Anna Wintour, and a really revolting personality in the designer Zac Posen.

It's just repugnant to find all of these people passing the blame from one to the other. The photographers and editors blame the designers, the designers blame the magazines, and on it goes.

There are small moments of sanity:

Scully, who cast his first show in 1983, put it the most bluntly of all: "Things are very seriously wrong right now."
And some points that will make you sick:

Nobody uttered the words "eating disorder."That's rich. Deny, deny, deny; criminals that they all are.

Agreeing on the nature of the problem is one thing, but did anyone have any solutions? "Collective responsibility" was invokedIn other words, "I don't have to do anything until someone else does something, so we'll all agree to do nothing."

Anna Wintour comes across especially badly:

"I'd like to ask the whole panel a question," [Winter] announced in her clipped accent. "I asked someone who works a lot with the shows if the Initiative was helping the problem at all. And I very sadly report that this gentleman said, No, it wasn't. So what I would like to know is what can we do to help the problem. Because obviously we're not doing enough. Because we're not making progress." A female designer in the audience pointed out that the problem was solvable by the very people in the room, if in fact they had the will. "Trends start by agreement. We keep saying 'They started it,' but we are 'they.' We are they."BINGO. That unnamed designer has it right. It's not changing because Wintour is not changing it! All she would have to do is state that no models under a certain size would ever appear in her magazine. But of course she's not going to do that. How sickening to see these people trying to place the blame on someone else when it's their own decisions that are creating and maintaining this appalling situation.

But there's no doubt that Posen, the designer, comes off worst:

Posen added, "I am often challenged, you know, by what is cool. And that usually comes down to the image makers, and that usually comes down to the newó" here he paused, as if searching for just the right word, "youth of the time."

"But there is something that's called too young," averred Dr. Herzog. "And maybe too vulnerable."

"On both sides," replied Posen. "I think the designers are vulnerable as well!"

How, exactly, a designer with money, influence, connections, a voice both within the industry and in the wider culture...is equally as "vulnerable" as a Ukrainian teenager who is living out of a suitcase in a model apartment and falling by the day into ever more significant debt to an agency that could theoretically drop her at any moment, Posen failed to quite explainThe gall of that is amazing. So this designer is being forced to promote eating disorders because that's "cool"? Where does he get the idea that such a thing is "cool"? If killing people were suddenly "cool," would he be compelled to promote that? What nonsense. It is NOT cool at all, and him pretending that it is, or thinking that it is, simply indicates how twisted his mind is, and how irresponsible it is to allow him, and people who think like him, to have control over our culture.

Anyway, the whole "youth" issue is a big red herring and a distraction. There are plenty of size-16 teenagers, plenty of plus-size girls the same age as the runway models, who could be used instead of the waifs. The only issue is size. Age is irrelevant.

But the real a-ha moment, the real smoking gun, comes in the designer's appalling statement at the end:

Posen interrupted him. "There's ideals that are so ingrained in our culture, though. Kate Moss was young and cute and hot, and underaged and modeling, and great. And that created a sensation. And that's going to be ingrained in our culture for a long time. So it is gonna be something there that people in fashion are going to be drawn to."What??? There you have the problem. Calling a grotesquely emaciated person "cute and hot" indicates how warped the designer's thinking is.

What would it say about a person if they called a corpse "cute and hot"? That's basically the mindset we're dealing with here.

I never knew anyone who considered Moss "cute" or hot," nor did most of America. Far from it, her malnourished appearance was (and is) repulsive. If you have an industry of people thinking THAT is "hot," there's something wrong with all of them.

Anything who considers androgynous-looking models "cute and hot" has a serious disorder, and has no business dictating aesthetics to the rest of society.

Allowing people who regard starving models as "hot" to tell women how they should look is criminally irresponsible. These people are the equivalent of crack peddlers. Their industry needs to be stopped, because as this article early shows, they will NEVER change on their own. Ever.

These CFDA discussions are only lip service, only meant to give the appearance of concern, the illusion of doing something, without actually DOING something. The people involved are all passing the blame, all trying to evade responsibility, and at bottom the real problem is the perverted anorexia-fetish of the people in this industry. Their hardwiring does not permit them to change their aberrant standards. They need to either be forced, by law, to stop peddling anorexia, or simply be banned from influencing the culture.

12th February 2010, 08:10
The article is just maddening. The comments are spot-on, though, and a lot of them sound similar in tone to the themes of the Judgment of Paris. Almost everyone who reads the article is sickened by this industry and the people who run it.

One of the commentators included this pithy quote:

"Fashion as a whole is a farce, completely. The people behind it are perverted. The styles are created by freaked out people, just natural weirdos. I know this because I worked with all those people while I was modeling." - Edie Sedgwick
That's why it makes me sick when apologists for "high fashion" actually try to praise the industry for being a haven, a refuge, for the "outsiders" and the "weirdos." Oh, really? That's a good thing? NOT. It results in an industry of anorexia peddlers.

Really, look what the result is. You have an industry promoting eating disorders, institutionalizing a hatred of natural femininity, and dictating to the rest of society that the only acceptable type of appearance is artificial-looking androgyny.

Maybe if the industry was cleared out of these vaunted "outsiders," maybe if it included some voices from the world of "normal," the world of "Middle America," of the "bourgeoisie," or whatever other categories these outsiders like to revile, maybe then the industry wouldn't be such a toxic influence on society, and could actually be reformed.

M. Lopez
16th February 2010, 04:49
A new article at the New York Daily News echoes the criticisms.


The tone of the piece is rightly one of outright disgust with fashion.

So it's come to this.

After all the hype, promises and international outcry, fashion's still calling normal girls f**.
It's because yet another model has been deemed "over"weight by this truly sick industry - at a size 4.

Ridiculous as that sounds, like something out of a parody of fashion, it's an actual fact, and with real-life consequences.

They're following in the footsteps of waifs like Kate Moss, who recently gave us her words of wisdom: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

It didn't feel good for Ana Carolina Reston, the 88-pound Brazilian who died in 2006 of complications from anorexia.
The article doesn't pull any punches, openly calling the CFDA meetings "useless," and pointing out that the very people who are meeting to supposedly solve the problem are the cause of the problem.

Want to throw blame? Look straight at the people who are paying them.

Last week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America threw a symposium where designers, models and editors discussed raising the "sample size," the industry standard set for runway and magazine photo shoots, to a size 4.

Right now, it's a zero.
It is beyond madness that they should be speaking of "raising" the sample size to a 4. In what sane world could it ever have gotten below that in the first place? A size 4 is skeletal; anything below that is a corpse. For heaven's sake, the size-6/8 models of the '80s were too thin and caused eating disorders due to the emaciated look that they had because of their excessive height. Size 4? Size 0? That shouldn't even be allowed as an exception, let alone as a twisted "norm."

How could an entire industry full of people with such a perverted fetish for emaciation be allowed to exist? Asking them to reform themselves is like asking crack dealers to set the nation's drug policies.

The personalities that we're dealing with are children - irresponsible children who will keep doing monstrous things until someone disciplines them.

The only way to solve this problem is with strict, binding legislation that once and for all outlaws this criminal behaviour.

19th February 2010, 13:25
Cocho Rocha is the model referred to in the article that M. Lopez posted, who has lost jobs because her tiny size-4 frame is considered "overweight" by some designers. Yesterday, she wrote a fine piece on her Web log expanding on her points:


Her statements are excellent. They're the kinds of things that we wish plus-size models would say, rather than being apologists for the industry.

Here's an especially trenchant passage:

this issue of model's weight is, and always has been of concern to me. There are certain moral decisions which seem like no brainers to us. For example, not employing children in sweatshops, and not increasing the addictiveness of cigarettes. When designers, stylists or agents push children to take measures that lead to anorexia or other health problems in order to remain in the business, they are asking the public to ignore their moral conscience in favor of the "art."

Surely, we all see how morally wrong it is for an adult to convince an already thin 15 year old that she is actually too f**. It is unforgivable that an adult should demand that the girl unnaturally lose the weight vital to keep her body functioning properly. How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion's aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it.
What I would like to see is someone - a journalist, a member of the public, anyone - address that question to every single straight-size designer in the industry today; every single booker, every single photographer. They all use these size-0 models. They are all complicit in implementing this toxic aesthetic. How DO they justify it? How can they? Their actions are indefensible.

Also, Rocha commendably comes out in favour of regulations on the fashion industry:

Society legislates a lot of things - no steroid use in sports is one example - its only reasonable that there be rules of conduct to keep the fashion industry healthy.
I think she's far too optimistic about the CFDA actually wanting to change the industry. As the first article in this thread indicates, there is no evidence that any actions are being taken, or will be. But that only adds force to her proposition for legislated rules of conduct for fashion.

Hopefully, some people who would otherwise ignore such arguments will heed them, now that they are coming from a well-known model.

20th September 2010, 15:45
<br>All of these discussions about the irresponsibility of the straight-size industry are extremely important, but what may be even more crucial is encouraging plus-size fashion to embrace its curviest and most beautiful models.

Ultimately, the best that anyone will ever be able to hope for from the minus-size end of the business is occasional token appearances by faux-plus models who look as close to waifs as possible, with harsh facial features and single-digit dress sizes.

But true size celebration will only be achieved via the promotion of indisputably gorgeous and genuinely curvaceous models, and that will only ever happen under the auspices of the plus-specific industry, whether in images for plus-size clients or in runway shows for full-figured design labels.

As Gwen DeVoe opined in our interview, it is vital for the full-figured industry to further develop its own identity. Straight-size fashion will always be dominated by individuals with an aesthetic bias in favour of emaciated features (as the statements quoted in the above posts indicate). But a plus-specific industry can cultivate an appreciation of full-figured beauty on its own terms, with designers, photographers, editors, etc. who adore plus-size models precisely for their visible fullness, from their curvy waists to their soft facial features; in other words, creative directors who recognize that plus-size models are beautiful <i>because</i> of their full-figured qualities, not despite these characteristics, and who feel that the fuller a model looks, the most beautiful she becomes.

Plus-specific magazines, runway shows, etc. can cultivate models who are as adept in modelling techniques (from still-photo posing to runway presentation) as any waifs, yet who are visibly and undeniably full-figured. And it is by increasing the public's exposure to these ideal embodiments of plus-size femininity that the anorexic look will finally be eliminated as modern culture's default female aesthetic, in favour of timeless beauty.

In short, the best that we can ever hope for from straight-size fashion is an occasional embrace of a size 10 model with thin features, and that will do nothing to change mainstream public aesthetics. But the plus-size industry can give us opulently gorgeous plus-size models in sizes 16, 18, etc., and those models, with their visibly well-fed beauty, can change the world.

Kelsey Olson (Dorothy Combs/Heffner), by far the most gorgeous of all plus-size models working today, in a breathtaking Polaroid from Heffner Mgmt:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/polaroid08.jpg"></center>