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Old 8th September 2006   #1
Kaitlynn
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Default Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

Remember the recent report about how South Africa's Fashion Week had dismissed a model for being too thin?

http://www.judgmentofparis.com/boar...hread.php?t=504

Now the Madrid Fashion Week is doing something similar, by banning severely underweight models in general. It's a pretty draconian step, but frankly, something had to give.

It's sad to think that it has come to this - that actual govt. intervention is necessary, but the fashion industry brought it on itself, and without the intervention, nothing was ever going to change.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,213028,00.html

Here's the most important section:
Spanish Fashion Show Turns Away Models for Being Too Skinny
Friday, September 08, 2006


MADRID, Spain — Spain's top fashion show has turned away a slew of models on grounds they are too skinny — an unprecedented swipe at body images blamed for encouraging eating disorders among young people.

Organizers of the pageant, known as the Pasarela Cibeles, used a mathematical formula to calculate the models' body mass index — a measure of their weight in relation to their height — and 30 percent of the women flunked, said the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain.

The association said Friday it wanted models at the show running from Sept. 18-22 to project "an image of beauty and health" and shun a gaunt, emaciated look.
The decision was made as part of a voluntary agreement with the Madrid regional government, said Jesus del Pozo, a designer who is part of the association, said Thursday.

Last year's show, also called Madrid Fashion Week, drew protests from medical associations and women's advocacy groups because some of the models were positively bone-thin.

This time the Madrid regional government decided to intervene and pressure organizers to hire fuller-figured women as role models for young girls obsessed with being thin and prone to starving themselves into sickness, said Concha Guerra, deputy finance minister of the regional administration.

Fashion shows, Guerra said, "are mirrors for many young women."

Del Pozo said this was the first time skinny models have been snubbed at a major international fashion show...

In a way, the title of this post is misleading, because sadly, the models will still be bone-thin, just not quite so emaciated that they look like they're actually going to die on the catwalk. But maybe this will finally prompt some designers to use models who at least have a trace of a figure.
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Old 9th September 2006   #2
HSG
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Default Keep the waifs, but give us goddesses


This is a tricky situation. On the one hand, government interference in a commercial enterprise is a dangerously slippery slope, and it should be obvious to everyone how this practice could be twisted to the detriment of size celebration.

On the other hand, here we have a state of affairs in which a particular group of like-minded individuals holds hegemonic power over a significant segment of the mass media (the fashion industry), and therefore, shapes our common culture according to its own marginal, out-of-the-mainstream tastes, rather than in accordance with the natural desires of the general populace. If this (or any) group controls both the creative content and the advertising revenue in a section of the media (as they do), then how can anything change, except by government intervention?

The most telling statement in the above article is the following:

Ryan Brown, director of marketing and public relations in North America for the Elite modeling agency in New York City . . . said fashion shows reflect the tastes of clothing designers, who for now prefer the Kate Moss look as opposed to the curvier dimensions of models such as Cindy Crawford in years past.

Let's leave aside the fact that calling Cindy Crawford a "curvier" model compared to the waifs is like saying that Siberia is warm compared to Antarctica. (They are both inhumanly cold, just as traditional "supermodels" and waifs are both underweight, only differing in degree.) As an industry insider, Mr. Brown is in a position to know whereof he speaks. He specifically acknowledges that fashion shows (and thus, their choice of models) "reflect the tastes of clothing designers." He does not state that fashion shows "reflect the tastes of the marketplace." The distinction is crucial, because it reveals that the very mechanism in capitalism which usually keeps it righted--its sensitivity to the desires of the public--is being subverted. The Spanish government is therefore stepping in to address a situation that doesn't accurately reflect the free market to begin with.

Nevertheless, while this action on the part of the government might be necessary, and will hopefully send tremors throughout the fashion industry, a better solution--or at least an ancillary one--might be for the government to provide some support for the burgeoning plus-size fashion industry. It could help underwrite plus-size fashion magazines; or subsidize fashion weeks with shows featuring plus-size models; or, at the very least, fund specific days of fashion week devoted to plus-size presentations.

The real problem is not that severely underweight models are included in the fashion industry, but that plus-size models are excluded. It is this suppression of plus-size beauty that is causing the real harm in our culture. One could readily ignore all of the Vogue and Elle magazines in the world, if there were a contingent of Mode magazines on the shelves as well, offering images of timeless beauty. Likewise, one could ignore all of the world's minus-size Fashion Weeks, with their walking skeletons, if there were just as many Fashion Weeks with plus-size models (not amateurs, mind you; but glamorous, chic, professional plus-size models).

Ivana, size 16 (38dd-36-47), walking the catwalk during the acclaimed "Romanesque" segment of the 2003 Lane Bryant Cacique show:

- "Who shapes the media?"

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Old 9th September 2006   #3
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Keep the waifs, but give us goddesses

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
He specifically acknowledges that fashion shows (and thus, their choice of models) "reflect the tastes of clothing designers." He does not state that fashion shows "reflect the tastes of the marketplace." The distinction is crucial, because it reveals that the very mechanism in capitalism which usually keeps it righted--its sensitivity to the desires of the public--is being subverted.

I think this is an incredibly important revelation, for the plus-size industry as well as for minus-size fashion.

Everyone deplores the use of faux-plus models, and wishes that more plus-size retailers would use true plus-size models (size 14 and up). And yet, many companies persist in using models who don't look even remotely plus.

It's a near-certainty that this stubborn refusal, on their part, to satisfy the wishes of the public is identical to the stubborn refusal of straight-size designers to use any models other than waifs.

Both come down to just a few industry professionals who have a bias against the plus look, and suppress it by their positions of power. It's not some vague force of the market that keeps fuller-figured models out of fashion catalogues, but just the tastes of a few individuals, whose personal aesthetic is not plus-friendly.

I remember Richard Madeley asking Charlotte Coyle "Who says? Who says that's the limit?" when she revealed to him, on the Richard & Judy show, that the British plus-size fashion industry limits itself to models under a size 18. It was the right question to ask. A few specific individuals are making these decisions - decisions that affect the media world we all have to live in.

I hope it won't take something as drastic as government intervention to finally persuade the full-figure fashion industry to use models who look more authentically plus - still gorgeous, still supermodel-beautiful, but visibly and truly curvy.
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Old 10th September 2006   #4
Emily
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

There's a short article about this development at the link below, with a video that even includes a glimpse of Kate Dillon at the first Lane Bryant Cacique show, accompanied by a former model saying, "There's so many models that I know, my contemporaries, that tried so hard to be so thin, and then became plus-size models because they couldn't" (presumably meaning Kate). It's funny, because this former straight-size model looks old and haggard, while the plus-size models she has in mind still look youthful and healthy.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/Healt...tory?id=2415971

The reporter asks, "Could bigger models be the next big thing?" One hopes! I only wish the clip had featured more images of plus-size models rather than grotesquely emaciated waifs (but those walking skeletons do validate the Madrid move).

I hate to say it, but maybe Madrid's state interference is necessary. Consider the comparison to the art world. If a country's art-establishment gets taken over by individuals who are only interested in creating and selling degenerate art, and who subvert the free market to make this happen, who is going to curtail this (or better yet, offer an alternative by promoting art that actually reflects folk traditions and the people's tastes), except the government? I would prefer it if this occurred as a private initiative, but that hasn't happened yet.

That's the result I hope this situation might create -- producing new opportunities for plus-size models, and plus-size fashion.
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Old 11th September 2006   #5
Micki
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

Other industries are regulated and the workers protected from abuse from employers. No one should be required to starve in order to work. I would be ecstatic if all fashion shows, print advertising, and television advertising featuring emaciated models were banned worldwide. It is ironic that the BMI standard is held in such high regard by governments but only those on the high end of the scale are derided. Those whose weight is dangerously low are rewarded for their self-destructive eating (or non-eating) habits.
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Old 12th September 2006   #6
Chad
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Default Plus-size models have been banned for years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily
Consider the comparison to the art world. If a country's art-establishment gets taken over by individuals who are only interested in creating and selling degenerate art, and who subvert the free market to make this happen, who is going to curtail this (or better yet, offer an alternative by promoting art that actually reflects folk traditions and the people's tastes), except the government? I would prefer it if this occurred as a private initiative, but that hasn't happened yet.

I think the comparison is spot on. Look what happened to Western art in the 20th century. Kings and princes were no longer there to wield their influence as patrons, and to keep art in touch with the people, and so an "art market" was set up that has systematically suppressed beautiful art for half a century. The art world became an aesthetic monopoly (imposing the aesthetic of abstraction and ugliness, to the exclusion of any other), and that's the condition of the fashion world too: it's an aesthetic monopoloy.

This comes up in a new article on the subject:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060912...spain_models_dc

It includes some ridiculously disingenuous statements by the fashion elite, attempting to deflect blame, such as:
"What about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer," said Gould, Elite's North America director, adding that the move could harm careers of naturally "gazelle-like" models."

Aaargh!! What about their discrimination against plus-size models? And how has their hegemony harmed the careers of models who are naturally "woman-like" not "gazelle-like"! This is so typical of individuals in her position - they cynically cry "discrimination" to protect their own ability to discriminate at will! (against plus sizes). "Freedom of expression - so we can exclude full-figured women," is what she really wants, and that's what they've had for decades.

That Elite spokesperson also references "eating disorders that usually started at home due to poor eating habits and constant dieting by mothers." No kidding - and what causes that "constant dieting" in the first place, except a thin-supremacist fashion world!!?

Emily and Micki are right. This needs to happen. There's no other choice. Despite all the efforts to create plus-size magazines and runway shows, timeless beauty has remained suppressed by a cabal of industry power-brokers.

The culture we live in affects us all, and the fashion world, like the art world, either helps a society grow healthier, or sicker. Here's another comparison: if you don't remove the weeds from a garden, the flowers will be overrun by them, until all you have left is a garden of weeds. This move by Milan is a necessary action to remove the weeds from the garden of culture, so that a healthy garden can bloom once again.

Apparently, the mayor of Milan says "she would seek a similar ban for her city's show." Bravo! I hope it happens.
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Old 15th September 2006   #7
MelanieW
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

I have to say, I am EXTREMELY disappointed with how the few plussize "celebrities" who have talked about this issue have addressed it. Emme was on CNN yesterday, and she seemed so hesitant to say anything even the least bit controversial that she made no point at all, and seemed more interested in smiling and beeing cheerful.

Then today, Crystal Renn was on Showbiz Tonight, and she seemed desperate not to say that ANYthing was the LEAST bit wrong with the fashion industry, etc., and basically repeated the party line of the agents ("Dont blame us" etc.). Of course, she is the one token plussize model who has ever been given a break by the mainstream fashion industry, so Im hardly surprised she thinks theres nothing wrong with it.

But study after study has PROVEN that images of underweight models DO cause eating disorders. And yet these two models conveniently "forgot" this fact, when interviewed on TV??? Its appalling.

And what about all of the women above a double-digit dress size who continue to be excluded from fashion and the media???

And what about the twisted standard of appearance that this industry has created and maintained, to the exclusion of any other?

I was VERY deeply disappointed in these two "representatives", and I think CNN should have made it their responsibility to find a spokesperson who could have made the VERY valid case FOR the ban, someone who isnt beholden to the fashion industry - the industry that has so BLANTANTLY been discriminating against curvy women for decades.
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Old 15th September 2006   #8
Kaitlynn
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

I agree. What we're seeing here is a really distributing lesson in how the idea of "discrimination" can be twisted and manipulated by a power elite to allow them to keep discriminating. Basically, what the fashion industry is saying is "Don't discriminate against our discriminatory standards!"

I remember Anna Wintour used the same ploy in one of her cynical "shape" issues of Vogue, saying "Stop putting down our skinny models" (even while she bans plus-size models from anything except one token editorial per year).

And now the industry is using the same talking points to defend its own hegemony, to defend its thin-supremacist policies.

I'm just very sad to see that some plus-size models themselves have bought into this fashion-industry rhetoric (which is clearly a ruse to distract from the industry's obvious culpability). They are defending the oppressors of their own full-figured peers. CNN should have asked representatives of eating-disorders organizations to comment instead.

Remember when Jack Krosinski was trying to launch Beautiful magazine, and had all kinds of ad agencies interested, until he told them that the magazine was for plus-size women? That's suppression That's a monopoly. "We won't participate in your project unless you use the same models that all the other magazines use." That's a ban- not by the govt., but by the industry.

Frankly, I hope the Madrid approach spreads. And it's no assault on the free market at all. Rather, it's the fashion equivalent of trust-busting: to allow different aesthetics to compete against the current monopoly of thinness.

The bottom line is this: if the mainstream fashion industry bans plus-size models (and they do, in deed if not in word), then they can’t complain when their models are banned in turn.
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Old 15th September 2006   #9
Chad
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

Banning skeletal models is as necessary and valid as banning tobacco advertising, especially towards youth - it's a matter of curtailing imagery that directly leads to physically destructive (and sometimes fatal) behaviour.

The most ludicrous defense is the idea that "underweight models aren't the only thing that cause eating disorders." SO WHAT? If they're 80% responsible instead of 100% responsible, that makes them okay? What kind of logic is that?

Smoking isn't the only thing that causes cancer - but it DOES cause cancer, and that's more than enough reason to curb tobacco advertising.

Same thing here. Images of underweight models aren't the only cause of eating disorders, but they DO cause eating disorders, and that's ample reason to put a stop to them.
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Old 15th September 2006   #10
Emily
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Default Re: Madrid Fashion Week bans thin models

I saw Crystal's appearance on Showbiz Tonight, and was deeply disappointed as well. She's probably scared to imperil her career, but it was still irresponsible, if not worse. She should consider her own responsibility to out the industry on the severely unhealthy body type it promotes. Kate Dillon was always much more honest about this.

Another ludicrous defense I'm hearing is that not all straight-size have eating disorders. That's not the point!! They point is that they cause eating disorders in others -- whether they themselve have them or not! That's like trying to excuse smoking ads by saying that the models in smoking ads don't have cancer. So what?? The cigarettes they're promoting do cause cancer!

It's about the effect the images have on culture, on society.

If the industry used, say, one waif per show, or one skeleton per magazine issue, that would be endurable. It would represent the small number of women in life who have such figures. But by exclusively using underweight models, and nothing but, the fashion industry is promoting an abnormal and harmful image as the only acceptable form of appearance.

There's a good article about this here:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-de...7827158345.html

Unfortunately, it spouts the nonsense that "curvy models distract from the clothing" (whereas obviously, anorexic models are far more distracting -- witness this entire controversy!), but it ends with the lines:
Thomson describes the Madrid announcement as "very brave, really revolutionary".

Placing a ban on the unhealthily thin is still some way from embracing a healthy, dimpled plumpness but it is a good first step.
I agree 100%.
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