Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average women. Today she weighs 23% less.
Although the whole size zero debate crops up a lot in the media, its often shocking the read a statistic like that especially as we are all so influenced by the fashion world – both in the way we dress, but often in the ways we behave.
PLUS Model Magazine has recently put together a campaign in their latest issue to raise awareness for the change in fashion models’ measurements, and how this is impacting on young girls and women who also aspire to such an unnatural ideal.
Featuring plus size model Katya Zharkova, 28, the series of effective photographs are accompanied by a number of shocking statistics, including ‘most runway models meet the BMI physical criteria for anorexia’.
In one of the images, model Katya (who is a US size 12 – UK 16) poses with an ‘average’ fashion model. I found this image THE most effective, as we see catwalk models fairly regularly and don’t really think anything of it. As a society, we have become desensitised to seeing skinny women – that we are a little shocked to see a bigger lady pose opposite what we consider ‘beautiful’.
I understand why the fashion industry has a need for skinnier models, as the clothes hang better on someone who doesn’t have curves – and the clothes are the main focal point rather than a protruding breast or a love handle. However, this isn’t to say I agree with it.
Katya looks absolutely wonderful in the campaign, and although she is a little bigger than average – she looks amazing, and completely confident in her own skin. I think this is the kind of image we need to be seeing lots more of in magazines and on catwalks.
The photo shoot will be published in PLUS Model Magazine next month. Editor Madeline Figueroa-Jones explained that the shoot is in response to our fashion and beauty industry which seem to endorse an unnaturally skinny ideal. She hopes it will trigger more campaigns to use plus size models, and that real women will no longer be alienated by tiny, skinny women.
Personally I think that we live in a society which portrays a lot of mixed messages. We are bombarded with weight loss adverts, skinny women advertising clothing are pushed into our faces and our favourite celebrities are constantly yo-yo-ing in weight. So for someone that feels quite vulnerable and sensitive, it can mean that they only feel beautiful if they are dieting.
I think that many fashion models today (size 6-8) should not be attacked simply for being a fashion model. It is their chosen career path, many are naturally slim anyway – and I feel that a size 6-8 is a small size, but it’s not impossible to attain. A size zero however, is unnatural. Anyone who looks unwell, should not be put onto a catwalk.
Hopefully this campaign should spark interest into the plus-size modelling industry, and set fashion designers thinking about how they could incorporate ‘real women’ into their new collection. Women shouldn’t be alienated by unnaturally thin women, but at the same time – we need to remember that ‘plus size’ does not mean obese. Women still need to be healthy. They just shouldn’t feel pressured into getting unnaturally thin.
What’s your opinion? Is the advertising campaign successful? Did it make you think about the fashion industry?
Disclaimer: the images used in this article are not my own and I do not take credit for them.