Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Same Old, Same Old. The Fashion Industry's "Size Zero" Blame Game

The fashion industry is not clueless about the fact that there is a demand for disturbingly thinner and thinner and models. The issue has been the subject of countless news articles and it's been debated to death in industry forums (three of which we've attended). The problem is that everyone seems to think someone else is at fault.

This seemingly endless blame game is now playing out on an international stage, after British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman sent a letter to several major fashion houses--including Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Prada and Versace--complaining that their sample sizes were so itty-bitty that editors must use girls with "jutting hipbones" and "no breasts or hips." Designers, however, tell a different story.

"When I go through the agency books, the sizes of the girls are pretty consistent. The girls who work the most are of a consistent size - the same height, shape. When we make samples, we make samples to fit that consistent model size," said designer Kinder Aggugini. "The size zero is a trend that's gone on too long, but it's a vicious cycle," he added.

A vicious cycle, indeed. The agencies are "forced" to sign super-skinny models because they are the only ones who book jobs. The editors are "forced" to hire said super-skinny models because they are the only ones who will be able to squeeze into the samples. And the designers are "forced" to make those tiny samples because the only models available are super-skinny! Got that?

Sarah Shotton, head designer for Agent Provocateur, sais she wants to work with bigger models, but the agencies send "girls so thin we have to ask them to leave."

"I actually think it has got worse since they started talking about skinny models a few years ago," Shotton added.

And that right there is the heart of the matter. We can talk about skinny models forever, but nothing will change until players at all points in this vicious cycle start taking some action.

"Fashion houses hit back in row over who's to blame for 'size zero' models"

"CFDA Health Initiative Discussion: 'We've Been Drinking the Kool-Aid'"
"Anna Wintour Says Models Today Are Pale, Thin and Joyless"
"Designer Bradley Bayou Pushes for Changes After His Own Daughter Suffers From Bulimia"

image: Photobucket


The Actors Diet said...

Designers need to take some responsibility too - if they stop giving out mainly sample sizes to be featured maybe we'll see some more variety...

Jo said...

All these groups are doing it for the money, right? They'd soon change if their income stream was drying up because they use size zero models. Where's the money coming from? Ultimately, it comes from us, the end consumers. If consumers stopped financially supporting businesses that use size zero models, those businesses would be forced to adapt or collapse, e.g. GM going under because they made gas-guzzling cars which people no longer wanted.

That this isn't happening says consumers don't really care about the issue yet... they're okay with size zero models, just like there's still a market for eggs from caged hens.