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Old 29th May 2009   #1
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
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Default ''Is fashion over skinny?'' (article)

The article seems overly optimistic to me, but the premise is good, and it contains some fine sentiments. rPath=home


Is fashion officially over skinny?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

So how did curves become hip? Looking back at the late 1990s, the era that coined the phrase “heroin chic”, increasingly emaciated girls were paraded down catwalks with sallow skin, grungy hair and slept-in eye smudge.

Size zero came next. Equivalent to a UK size 4, it was trumpeted as the holy grail for the truly stylish and the badge of the terminally hungry...

Yet today, the idea that women across the nation are coveting starving figures seems at odds to the fact that the average woman in the UK wears a size 16. It’s getting harder to justify aspiring to look exhausted and sickly now, particularly as curvacious glamazons such as Christina Hendricks of Mad Men are under the spotlight.

So what’s changed? Perhaps in the notoriously fickle word of fashion, skinny has simply run its course.

Bored with bones, the trend machine is craving softer, more rounded flesh. And think of the beauty buzz words of late – illuminating, fresh, natural and organic.

Perhaps the body zeitgeist is embracing balance and femininity wrapped up in the sort of womanly form that nature intended.

Lana Brown at Thursby’s Aspire Lifestyle Centre believes a healthy body is slowly replacing a thin body on women’s wish-lists.

If you believe you must be thin, ask yourself who says you must be so and why?” she says...

Lana said one visiting make-up artist at Aspire who works with London’s top fashion houses also reported something of a sea change. “He told me that at his last fashion show it was obvious that the top designers look at bigger models now. They realise that size zero is not a healthy image.

“We can divide women’s bodies into shapes – 63 per cent of British women are pear shaped. Whether you are a size six or a 26, you can’t change your basic body shape however much you torture yourself through dieting.

I don’t like the word diet. Just think about the first three letters of the word.

“How attractive you are is not about size. It is about how confident you are as you move throughout your day.”...

...“Don’t wear baggy just because you have curves. You need clothing that draws attention to your waist because it creates an outline to show off those curves.

“I also like to show off my shoulders too.”

Kelly, 27, believes it’s all about knowing your best features whilst accepting yourself as a whole. “My legs are my best feature,” she said. “So I like to wear short skirts. And I love bright clothes too."

Last edited by HSG : 30th December 2009 at 00:20. Reason: URL edited
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Old 25th November 2009   #2
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Default Re: ''Is fashion over skinny?'' (article)

I thought it would be worth coming back to Marie's article, above, to confirm that the sentiments that were being expressed at the time were indeed too optimistic. I'd say that fashion was reverting to its usual, curve-o-phobic ways, but even that would be too positive, because it would imply that there ever was any substantial change. There hasn't been.

The only good things is that models are slowly starting to become whistleblowers on their industry. It's about time. Here's an article that I just came across, written by an older straight-size model, in which she condemns current fashion-industry practices.

First of all, I admire her for stating point-blank that straight-size models are unhealthy. (And remember, she's speaking from first-hand knowledge.)

The great Kate debate

Victoria Norval

25 November 2009

It's incredible that the fashion industry is still using stick thin models to promote its clothes.

This makes my blood boil. I know from personal experience that not all these girls are healthy or eating the appropriate amount of food required to exist in normal day-to-day life.

They sacrifice their health for us to have the supposed fantasy of what is actually just the fashion designers' idea of what an 'ideal woman' should look like in their clothes.

The girls often only exist on meagre scraps of food...or, in extreme cases, cocaine.

These poor eating habits have even lead to cases of a few young fashion models dying. In 2006 two Uruguayan sisters - Eliana & Luisel Ramos, both models - died within months of each other after suffering heart attacks brought on by their eating disorders.

After these tragedies the Spanish and Italian fashion shows banned 'ultra-thin' models from their high-profile shows. Madrid's annual fashion show organisers even rejected 69 models that they considered underweight.

The British Fashion Week chiefs declined to follow suit, but insisted no size-zero models would be used at their shows that year. However, fashion houses have slipped back into using the size-zero models again during the latest shows, it seems.
Sure enough, any supposed "change" in the industry was fleeting; or rather, there was no actual change to begin with.

I appreciate how, in the following paragraph, she ridicules the whole idea of emaciation being an ideal:

Differing views on this issue are shown by a couple of examples from the fashion industry. Firstly Vogue's editor Alexandra Schuman recently appealed to major fashion houses to end this size-zero culture. But then American Instyle magazine's fashion director, Hal Rubenstein, told the BBC recently that women like to see these super slim models on the catwalks as they like to aspire to them. This sounds ridiculous to me. Do women around the world really want to aspire to being over 6ft tall and looking like a stick insect? I think not!

The sad fact is the fashion industry is still prejudiced about using real size models to sell their clothes. Most of us 'normal sized' women - whether we are short, shapely, tall or tiny - often have very little in common with the 6ft size-zero models that they try to impress us with in their outfits on the catwalks. Celebrities that are on our TV and cinema screens strive to be ultra thin, as we see with Victoria Beckham or Alexa Chung. This is not what us women want to see I'm sure.
Exactly. It's only what a small coterie of fashion insiders want to see, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with what most women favor, and even less to do with what heterosexual men find attractive. It's a case of a small group of like-minded individuals with alien values dictating to all of society what's correct and what's not. In short, it's a tyranny - no less.

The author points out a few small points of success, but these are glaringly rare.

I was pleased to see that, during the latest London Fashion week in September, fashion house Mark Fast used 'larger' models. The Canadian designer broke with convention and caused controversy by placing three size 12 -14 models on the catwalk to show off his figure-hugging knitwear designs. Because of his decision, a stylist and a casting director left before the show was put on, apparently feeling disgruntled and complaining it 'didn't look right'.

They were replaced by a more visionary couple who ensured the show carried on. Ultimately it was a success, which gained Mark huge praise and publicity for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection. He showed that...fuller figures girls can look equally stunning in his dresses.

Medical science proves that your body needs food and if you don't eat enough you get skinny and ill....During my modelling years I was required to be stick-thin...I do worry if the lack of calcium in my diet then has had a detrimental effect on my bones for the future. Fingers crossed it hasn't.

But again, it's the author's condemnation of the underweight standard that is most valuable.

Apart from the health issues, which worries me for our teenage girls who try to emulate these models and actresses, the whole concept of selling clothes using skinny models is bizarre. Why would we want to be skin and bone to look attractive? According to the latest surveys, men prefer their women to be curvy. Most clothes shops do not sell anything under a size 8, so why show women wearing size 4 (or is it zero) on the catwalks and magazines, if the clothes are not available in the high street shops for us?

Bravo to her for pointing out that freakish skinniness is neither healthy nor attractive at all. It's time for the promotion of this toxic standard to end, once and for all.

Last edited by HSG : 30th December 2009 at 00:26. Reason: Typo fixed
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Old 28th November 2009   #3
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Default Re: ''Is fashion over skinny?'' (article)

In order for this industry to change it would take both people at the top (like designers and editors of fashion magazines) and people at the bottom forcing the issue at every opportunity. I think I see some beginnings of this but the voices must become much louder and the pressure much greater and persistent.

This isn't the first time I have heard of a designer from a big fashion house wanting to use fuller-figured models given a difficult time by his/her colleagues. When stylists, editors, directors and other important professionals a designer must work with refuse to work with someone who tries to buck the trend, it can be intimidating. The fashion industry has a powerful establishment network, and those who try to do something different are ostracized or given the cold shoulder. Therefore, it seems, everyone must toe the line.

Which means that it's going to take courageousness and a measure of fierce independence to stand against this kind of size discrimination. Qualities that the current crop of "fashionistas" in general, do not possess.
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Old 30th December 2009   #4
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Default Re: ''Is fashion over skinny?'' (article)

Originally Posted by vargas
In order for this industry to change it would take both people at the top (like designers and editors of fashion magazines) and people at the bottom forcing the issue at every opportunity.

The fashion industry has a powerful establishment network, and those who try to do something different are ostracized or given the cold shoulder. Therefore, it seems, everyone must toe the line.

All too true. The article that Melanie recently linked indicates just how deeply entrenched the current establishment is, and how impossible it will be to overthrow it.

Trying to crack the "fringe mainstream" of fashion (which is not a contradiction in terms, by the way, for the coterie that dominates the fashion world and considers itself the mainstream is actually, in its androgynous tastes and emaciated size preferences, very much of the fringe) is not only difficult for the full-figured industry, it is a highly questionable endeavour in the first place, and one that is fraught with peril.

The temptation will always be to compromise the ideals of timeless beauty in order to conform to the thin-supremacists' warped vision. Thus the thinking will be, "Maybe if we offer them size 12s instead of size 14s, they'll let them in. And if that doesn't work, we'll go down to size 10s. Or size 8s." Pretty soon, what passes for a "plus-size model" is anything but, and the full-figured fashion industry ends up dominated by what are basically straight-size models, just under a different name. And women who actually buy plus-size clothing--i.e., the majority of women, who are size 16 or better--are left feeling more marginalized than ever.

But that is only the most obvious compromise that full-figure fashion makes when it comes cap-in-hand to the anorexia pushers for validation. There are other ways in which the plus-size industry undermines itself by seeking their approval. Instead of celebrating models with plump, round facial features and curves under the chin (which are natural and beautiful qualities for goddesses to possess), the industry will end up favouring models with harsh, hollowed-out faces--all in an attempt to conform to the skinny aesthetic. Instead of dressing larger models in the type of feminine outfits that best suit their curves, it will confine them in ugly modern garb--again, to try to win points with the fashionistas. Rather than giving curvaceous models pretty, feminine makeup, it will smear their faces with garish hues or "heroin chic" smudges, just like what the drugged-out individuals who dominate the grotesque "arty" magazines prefer. And far from photographing well-fed models in gorgeous natural locations that harmonize with their lush beauty, it will shoot them in ugly, urban environments.

In other words, by trying to fit in with the "cool" crowd (like an insecure high-school outcast), full-figured fashion ends up becoming just a second-rate copy of something that isn't worth emulating in the first place, mimicking an aesthetic that is alien to its very nature.

That's why it is such a pity that there are currently no plus-specific magazines in print. The best opportunities for the promotion of full-figured beauty have always presented themselves in venues and entities that are tailored especially for curvceous women. Unlike the faux-plus girls at the Mark Fast show, the models at Full-Figured Fashion Week were genuinely plus-size, possessed soft, round facial features (Kailee! Katherine Roll!), and were dressed in attractive, feminine garments. Magazines like Mode and Figure didn't Photoshop their models into near-straight sizes; it showed them looking luscious and well-fed (Barbara Brickner! Kelsey Olson!).

For plus-size beauty to win public approval, it needs to be seen on its own terms, as something gorgeous and distinct; indeed, as more feminine, more beautiful than hard-angled modernism, not as an uneasy imitation of it.

It also needs to be seen in a position of dominance, in waif-free environments, not as a marginal, token additions to publications or runway show where emaciation is falsely depicted as the "norm."

Instead of trying to curry favour with the straight-size industry, which favours androgynous ugliness, full-figure fashion should concentrate on pleasing its own customer base--plus-size women, who yearn for beauty.

Four ethereal looks from Victorian doll Kailee O'Sullivan (5'8,size 14). Images from Hughes Models, London.

Kailee is based in New York, where she is signed with Click Models.

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