View Single Post
Old 24th October 2009   #7
M. Lopez
Senior Member
Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: More on the Ralph Lauren controversy

If anyone needs any more indication that fashion is incapable of reforming itself, here it is. Here's an new article about Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue.

Even when someone in fashion acknowledges that there is a problem, she doesn't understand the extent of fashion's own culpability in causing it:

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington expressed her concern about the fashion industry's attachment to very young, very thin — and many times anorexic — models, in a talk with ex–Men's Vogue editor Jay Fielden at the New York Public Library last night..."It is a big problem," Coddington admitted.


"But it is a big problem in the fashion industry. And you go to meetings to discuss it, and you think it's kind of futile, because it's such a big thing, and in the end, people are always asking for more and they're always asking for thinner."

Well, then, for heaven's sake, these "people" who are "always asking for thinner" need to be told "No"!

Is it really so impossible for people in the fashion industry to understand that when designers, or photographers, or whoever, are "asking for thinner" that they should be told "No"? This sense of entitlement on the starvation-pushers' part, their certainty that they'll never be told "No," is a big part of the problem.

If a designer is "asking for thinner," the agency should say "No." If an agency sends a thin model, they should be told (by the magazine or the designer) "No." If a designer sends a too-small sample size to Vogue, Vogue should say "No."

Those "Nos" will save girls' lives - literally - and stop the fashion industry's chronic poisoning of young women's minds and destruction of their bodies (not just the models', but those of the millions of women who follow fashion).

The real problem comes in this passage:

But couldn't fashion editors unite on a healthier size for models? "They have to be a little thinner than you and I because you always photograph a little f**ter," Coddington replied, "but you don’t have to go to the extremes they go to. And because they're kids, they take it too far, and they can't regulate their lives, and next thing you know they're anorexic, and it is tragic. And I don't know what the answer is, except to keep on it, which we're all trying to do. Anna's trying to do it. Personally we're not allowed, at Vogue, to work with girls who are very thin"

What??? How can she say that with a straight face? The models in Vogue ARE "very thin." In fact, they're all TOO thin. It is precisely the models in Vogue (and in other fashion publications) who prompt women to develop eating disorders (to say nothing of these requirements causing the models to develop anorexia themselves).

What's especially appalling is Coddington's implication that it's the models' own fault for developing anorexia! The models are constantly being told by agencies, designers, and, yes, magazines, to get thinner, thinner, thinner - so what does she THINK is going to happen? Look at what happens when a model tries not to be underweight: She gets fired (the Ralph Lauren model), or hounded mercilessly and driven out of straight-size modelling (Crystal Renn, Kate Dillon, etc.).

Worst of all is the fact that Coddington sticks to the idea that models "have to be a little thinner than you and I." Thinner than her? In her photo, she herself looks emaciated (and no wonder - she's a former model). No model has to be "a little thinner" than that. No model has to be "a little thinner" than Crystal Renn - or than Charlotte Coyle, for that matter.

If you don't want models to be anorexic, don't require them to look anorexic.

Don't get me wrong - I applaud Coddington for speaking out. But (a) words are insufficient; they need to be translated into action, and (b) her words indicate that even with the best intentions, fashion cannot reform itself, because the people who run fashion today have such a distorted aesthetic that they have normalized an abnormally malnourished look. They look at starvation and see it as the "appropriate" appearance. And any industry that has normalized illness and made it a requirement NEEDS to be reformed - by regulation from outside, in this case, because it clearly can't come from within.
M. Lopez is offline   Reply With Quote