Recently, a small phenomenon has hit the world of fashion. One by one, fashion designers and magazine editors have taken note of the outcry of the public and have started paying attention to larger models. Just last year designer Mark Fast sent size 14 models down the runway at his catwalk show. He has since clinched a deal with Topshop. Newly engaged model-of-the-moment Lara Stone has hit the headlines many a time for being “the fat one” at a healthy size 8. When Madrid Fashion Week decided to weigh all girls before shows and ban any with a BMI of below 18 from walking down the catwalk, society rejoiced in appreciation of the fact that the skinny model obsession, which markedly cost the lives of Uruguayan sisters Eliana and Luisel Ramos, was finally being recognised. And Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue UK sent a letter to designers accusing them of forcing magazines to hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” due to “minuscule” garments provided for use in photo shoots. She even added that Vogue now frequently retouches pictures to make models look bigger. The letter was not intended for the public domain, but The Times squeezed a look at it and the story reverberated around the world.
But these few examples are not yet widespread across the fashion world. When Lizzie Miller bore all for US Glamour, stating that she was considered too big to be a plus-size model, despite being 5ft 11ins and 12½ stone, there was outrage. She has since been booked for many jobs, as readers spoke out against the prejudices of even the plus-size side to modelling. To further back up the situation, American model Crystal Renn made headlines with her book “Hungry”, detailing how her struggles with eating disorders coincided with her career success, showing that a super skinny model will always get more bookings that a larger girl. V Magazine in America has also recently featured four plus-size models in a designer spread to raise awareness of the issue.
However, these recent positive steps do have their counterparts. In 2009, Ralph Lauren airbrushed a model to the point that her head was bigger than her waist. The original plus-size supermodel, newlywed Sophie Dahl famously lost all of her extra weight to become the slim icon she is now, and Lara Stone has stated that she is “fed up” with being “the fat one” and has made a new year’s resolution to tone up. And with super slim icon Kate Moss stating “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, it seems that we still have a long way to go before society can change. Moss’ throwaway comment was snatched up by pro-anorexia websites as an excuse not to eat. Yet, whilst it may be unfair to blame the supermodel entirely for this, it simply goes to show that the war against skinny rages on.