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Shelley
25th July 2011, 15:23
This is one of those familiar half-measure proposals that, in the past, have led to mixed results at best. Melbourne Fashion Week promises, in its next incarnation, to use only "healthy-looking" models.

Of course, that phrase is extremely problematic, because the word "healthy" is abused by the fashion industry to justify the promotion of underweight models and to continue its discrimination against fuller-figured girls.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/fashion/only-healthy-looking-models-at-melbournes-spring-fashion-week/story-e6frf8o6-1226101628406

Interestingly, the proposal is framed in terms of economics:

ONLY healthy-looking models will be used in this year's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week in a bid to revive flagging retail sales across the city.

Organisers hope ditching skinny models and showcasing more realistic body types will encourage shoppers to splurge on the latest trends.
It would have been nicer if they had taken this step because it was the right thing to do, and not because of having an eye on the bottom line. But whatever yields a step in the right direction is good.

But is it really a step forward? Or would it just be a return to the '80/'90s standard -- which was marginally curvier than size 0, but still caused eating disorders, both in the models and in the general public. The size proposals that Melbourne is mentioning still indicate single-digit dress sizes -- thus, still underweight.

Amazingly, a better solution is staring them right in the face, and they even acknowledge it, but they still seem unwilling to make the logical move that this implies:

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said times had been tough for retailers and it was more important than ever that fashion week showcased clothes for "real people".

He highlighted the "thunderous applause" at last year's plus-size shows.
Well, if the applause was for the plus-size shows, why not shift the standard to plus-size models? Those are the kinds of models who received the applause. Those are the kinds of models whom the public really wants to see, not just androgynous girls with an extra 10 pounds.

Also, this may sound promising:

Models will be vetted by casting agents to make sure they are not too thin before they are signed up.
But what's that old phrase about the fox and the henhouse? Are "casting agents," with their thin-centric biases, the right people to be "vetting" the models? Wouldn't a more impartial vetting entity make more sense? In the past, when fashion weeks like Milan have committed to vetting to ensure most robust-looking models, the models have looked just as emaciated as ever.

The intentions here may be good, but it will all depend on the execution whether this turns out to be a real step forward, or just an attempt to garner good P.R.

Meredith
25th July 2011, 18:30
The Melbourne event featuring plus-size models which received the "thunderous applause" was, of course, the City Chic fashion show, where Sakina Czubowski made such an impression in her daringly low-cut red dress:

http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2106

I concur with Shelley's cautious skepticism of this move. However, it could have a positive effect in a number of ways, and could lead to better and even more size-positive developments in the future.

For example, the city of Sydney is already responding to the Melbourne initiative -- or is saying that it will.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/fashion/melbourne-spring-fashion-week-looks-for-healthy-respect-for-sales-with-healthy-models/story-e6frexm0-1226101622489

As the article notes:

Only healthy-looking models will be used in this year's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, to revive flagging retail sales across the city.

And Sydney may follow suit if Lord Mayor Clover Moore has her way.

"It's important we have healthy role models - if designers only ever use size zero models then that sends a signal that a size zero body shape is somehow ideal and I don't think that's true. It places unnecessary and unrealistic pressure on young people," Ms Moore said.

"It is a growing concern around the world and I will be contacting the organisers of Sydney's fashion events to encourage them to incorporate healthy models that are more representative of broader society and portray healthy and appropriate body images."
Still, none of this will make any appreciable difference until the models on the runway are gorgeous and genuinely full-figured, like the girls in the City Chic show. Australia now has so much talent among plus-size models. When its runway shows feature girls like Hayley B., Sophie Sheppard, Alexandra Newton, Sakina Czubowski, Tenille Roberts -- then we will know that something really important has happened, and that fashion is promoting a truly positive body image.

Hannah
28th July 2011, 02:27
Well, as this article notes, at least Fashion Festival Sydney will be opening with a show that will (hopefully) feature plus-size models, as it is a show for a plus-size collection.

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/fashion-police-20110727-1i04h.html

The pertinent info:

Fashion Festival Sydney kicks off on August 23 at Sydney Town Hall. With new sponsor Mercedes-Benz on board, FFS is shaping up to be bigger than ever - literally, with Myer's new Big is Beautiful plus-size label taking the opening show slot. Daniel Hill, the general manager of IMG Fashion, which runs the festival, says including plus-size labels such as Big is Beautiful and City Chic, which featured in FFS three years ago, is important for any fashion festival that wants to be taken seriously as providing wardrobe options for regular women, who are generally far from a model's sample size.Myer, by the way, is is Australia's largest department store chain.

A look at the official Fashion Festival Sydney schedule confirms this news.

http://mbffsydney.com.au/official-schedule

The first item:

Myer BIG IS BEAUTIFUL
Sydney Town Hall

Myer is proud to support Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, Sydney and invites you to join us for our Big Is Beautiful Fashion Launch. The show will feature the very latest trends in plus size fashion for sizes 16 to 24. Itís fashion designed for real women with a fuller figure. For Spring Summer 2011 Myer is excited to be re-launching Big Is Beautiful and introducing Leona + by Leona Edmiston and both brands will feature in the show. This is an event not to be missed!
If the collection is "for sizes 16 to 24," let's just hope that the runway show will feature models in "sizes 16 to 24"! Or at the very least some Australian size 16s and 18s. There are so many gorgeous Australian models who are that size. Even if they can't bring back Sophie Sheppard from the U.K. for this event, there is Hayley B., Alexandra Newton, Courtney, Sakina, etc.

If the show does feature some models who are gorgeous and legitimately full-figured, it will be a stunning event indeed.