January 25, 2010

Article | On the Issue of Wire-Thin Models

(Image: Models changing backstage at São Paolo Fashion Week. Photo: Getty Images)

As the world is buzzing with fashion week excitement for the Fall/Winter 2010 collections, check out this article, reposted from The Huffington Post, which discusses the issue of wire-thin models on the catwalk for Sao Paulo's Fashion Week, which just ended:

The Velveteen Revolution: Say No to Wire-Thin Models

A message to the fashion industry: If you want hangers to show your clothes off, then put a bunch of hangers on a cleaning-store style conveyor belt and send that down the runway. It will be way cheaper than 'hanging' your garments on wire-thin women.

The fashion industry's state of affairs has grown increasingly disturbing. Even the Creative Director of Sao Paulo Fashion Week, Paulo Borges, said this week, "This situation cannot be ignored. We would like to propose a joint effort towards minimizing this issue and preventing the effects of this trend on models, on our industry and on society itself."

Echoing Mr. Borges plea, today we call out to the fashion, media, and entertainment world for A Velveteen Revolution. Unlike war and peace, this is simple. The message: Just stop.

Stop peddling your wares using underweight models. This is perpetuating an unrealistic and unhealthy body ideal for girls. It is time to halt this practice.

1. Designers and manufacturers: Stop designing for and featuring clothing on emaciated models. Stop advertising campaigns featuring them. Stop airbrushing photos.

2. Retailers: Stop buying and selling the clothing that is being marketed in this way.

3. Modeling Agencies: Stop recruiting and sending out underweight models.

4. Magazine editors: Stop accepting sample clothing for layouts in too small sizing. Stop the excessive self-congratulation when you feature a normal size woman in a spread.

5. Entertainment industry: Stop featuring models and actresses who resemble skeletons.

In our Huffington Post article Bring Back the Belly, we wrote, "Girls growing up today have enough pressure without these unrealistic and unhealthy images of scarecrows." We lamented the fact that magazines are not seamlessly integrating regular-sized models into their fashion spreads; that when regular-sized women are occasionally included in their pages, it's generally in a piece about body image.

Meanwhile, already tiny models are being airbrushed to seem even thinner (to the point of absurdity). We are not advocating unhealthy overweight role models; we're advocating the inclusion of pleasing, healthy bodies in all shapes and all sizes. In our book, Bitches on a Budget, we say "Wake up, look around--in this mulit-culti world we live in there's no longer a single icon of beauty. A woman with a hip modern aesthetic doesn't settle for just loving her inner bitch; she knows the outer one is fine too, whatever her shape!"

It's time for the fashion industry to wake up. Look at how gorgeous, curvy Michelle Obama has become a beacon for style. We are advocating variety. We are advocating an end to deception.

This latest outrage in Sao Paolo, where underweight models have supposedly been banned, is a reminder of how hard it is to make change whether in government or industry. It takes courage and will to foment a revolution. Small steps have been made--but isn't it time for the entire industry to take a stand?

You can read more from Bitches on a Budget at: www.bitchesonabudget.com