What models are size 0?
Size zero or size 0 is a women’s clothing size in the US catalog sizes system. Size 0 and 00 were invented due to increasing body sizes and therefore the changing of clothing sizes over time (referred to as vanity sizing or size inflation), which has caused the adoption of lower numbers. For example, a 2011 size 0 is equivalent to a 2001 size 2,  and is larger than a 1970 size 6 or 1958 size 8.   Modern size 0 clothing, depending on brand and style, fits measurements of chest-stomach-hips from 30-22-32 inches (76-56-81 cm) to 36-28-36 inches (90-71½-90 cm). Size 00 can be anywhere from 0.5 to 2 inches (1 to 5 cm) smaller than size 0.   Size zero often refers to thin individuals (especially women and adolescent girls), or trends associated with them.
Criticism [ edit ]
Katie Green, who initiated a campaign against size-zero modeling
The use of size 0 in advertisements and products of the clothing industry has been met with some media attention. In July 2009, Katie Green won a competition to represent Wonderbra. They referred her to the Premier Model Management agency for representation. Green reported that «one of the guys from the PR agency from Wonderbra» insisted that she lose weight, that it wasn’t normal for models to be a (UK) size 8. «Unless I could drop down to that weight, they wouldn’t be willing to get me more work.»  Green at first complied, but then quit the agency. She then, with Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Öpik, launched a campaign titled «Say No to Size Zero». They began a petition drive with the goal to put an end to size zero and underweight models on the catwalk or working in the fashion industry. They set a goal to obtain 20,000 signatures and plan to present it to the UK Prime Minister and Parliament. They are campaigning for legislation that would require regular health checkups for all models before undertaking any assignments. 
Movement against size zero [ edit ]
Victoria Beckham hosting the LG Mobile Phone Touch Event, in 2010
After the death of Luisel Ramos from anorexia in August, 2006, Madrid Fashion Week banned size-zero models the following month, and the Milan fashion show took the same action shortly afterward, banning models with a body mass index (BMI) of 18 or below. As a result, five models were banned from taking part. 
As of 2007, the British Fashion Council promoted the creation of a task force to establish guidelines for the fashion industry. They also urged fashion designers to use healthy models. In September 2019, Victoria Beckham received criticism on social media over thin models who appeared «ill» in her Fall fashion show. In 2015 she had «vowed that her agents were in touch with the agents of all the models she uses in an effort to make sure that the women are healthy». Representatives for Beckham did not respond to Fox News’s request for comment. 
Italian fashion labels Prada, Versace and Armani have agreed to ban size-zero models from their catwalks.  Under the new self-regulation code drawn up in Italy by the government and designers, all models in future shows will be «full-bodied», and larger sizes will be introduced at shows.  Fashion designer Giorgio Armani has given support to the effort to eliminate ultra-thin models. «The time has now come for clarity. We all need to work together against anorexia.»
France banned size-zero models by law stipulating that models needed a doctor’s note attesting to their health in regards to their age, weight and body shape. The new charter brought forth by the iconic fashion companies take the 2015 legislation further, committing their brands to banning models who are smaller than size 34 for women and 44 for men (for reference, a French size 34 is roughly equivalent to a size 0 in the US). Paris fashion week has also banned size-zero models from their catwalks. Kering and LVMH, parent company of brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy have created a new charter that bans the hiring of excessively thin models. The CEO of Kering, Francois-Henri Pinault spoke of the decision, “We hope to inspire the entire industry to follow suit, thus making a real difference in the working conditions of fashion models industry-wide.» 
Israel banned underweight models in March 2012. Their law stipulates that women and men hired as models must be certified by a physician as having a body mass index (BMI) of no less than 18.5.  The legislation also requires the inclusion of an informational note in adverts using photos manipulated to make models look thinner.  There were divergent views on the ban within the Israeli fashion industry. One modelling agent, who had helped promote the bill, suggested that the fall in typical dress sizes for models in the preceding 15–20 years amounted to «the difference between death and life». However, another described the law as «arbitrary» and «not appropriate for every model». 
See also [ edit ]
- EN 13402, a partially adopted centimeter-based standard for labelling clothes, which aims to make it easier to find and select fitting clothes resulting in fewer returns
- Female body shape
- Body image
- Clothing sizes
References [ edit ]
- ^ Ingraham, Christopher (2015-08-11). «The absurdity of women’s clothing sizes, in one chart». Washington Post . Retrieved 2022-10-16 .
- «Body Measurements for the Sizing of Women’s Patterns and Apparel» (PDF) . 1958. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04 . Retrieved 2017-08-01 .
- «Body Measurements for the Sizing of Women’s Patterns and Apparel» (PDF) . 1970. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-07 . Retrieved 2017-08-01 .
- «Aeropostale Size Chart» . Retrieved 16 September 2012 .
- «American Apparel Women Shirts Size Chart» . Retrieved 16 September 2012 .
- «They said I was too fat, says Wonderbra sensation Katie Green» (Flash video) . News of the World . Retrieved 19 May 2011 .
- Snape, Katie (9 August 2009). «Today’s Sunday Live». skynews.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2009 . Retrieved 10 August 2009 .
- «Skeletons on the Runway: The «Size-Zero Debate» | Britannica Blog». Britannica.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012 . Retrieved 2013-03-14 . > : CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- McCarthy, Tyler (3 Sep 2019). «Victoria Beckham criticized for using ‘ill-looking’ model to promote latest clothing line». Fox News . Retrieved 24 January 2020 .
- ^CBS News
- Turner, Sally (Mar 20, 2012). «Israel Passes Law to Ban Underweight Models» . Retrieved March 20, 2010 .
- «Israel bans use of ultra-skinny models». Reuters. 20 March 2012.
- «Israel passes law banning use of underweight models». BBC News. 20 March 2012.
Former Vogue editor: The truth about size zero
The fashion industry is not a pretty business. Here, one of its own, the former editor of Australian Vogue Kirstie Clements describes a thin-obsessed culture in which starving models eat tissues and resort to surgery when dieting isn’t enough
Fri 5 Jul 2013 16.03 BST
O ne of the most controversial aspects of fashion magazines, and the fashion industry, is models. Specifically, how young they are and how thin they are. It’s a topic that continues to create endless debate, in the press and in the community. As the editor of Australian Vogue, my opinion was constantly sought on these issues, and the images we produced in the magazine were closely scrutinised. It’s a precarious subject, and there are many unpleasant truths beneath the surface that are not discussed or acknowledged publicly.
When I first began dealing with models in the late 1980s we were generally drawing from a pool of local girls, who were naturally willowy and slim, had glowing skin, shiny hair and loads of energy. They ate lunch, sparingly for sure, but they ate. They were not skin and bones. I don’t think anyone believes that a model can eat anything she wants, not exercise and still stay a flawless size 8 (except when they are very young), so whatever regime these girls were following was keeping them healthy.
But I began to recognise the signs that other models were using different methods to stay svelte. I was dressing a model from the US on a beauty shoot, and I noticed scars and scabs on her knees. When I queried her about them she said, nonchalantly: «Oh yes. Because I’m always so hungry, I faint a lot.» She thought it was normal to pass out every day, sometimes more than once.
On another shoot I was chatting to one of the top Australian models during lunch. She had just moved to Paris and was sharing a small apartment with another model. I asked her how that was working out. «I get a lot of time by myself actually,» she said, picking at her salad. «My flatmate is a ‘fit model’, so she’s in hospital on a drip a lot of the time.» A fit model is one who is used in the top designer ateliers, or workrooms, and is the body around which the clothes are designed. That the ideal body shape used as a starting point for a collection should be a female on the brink of hospitalisation from starvation is frightening.
The longer I worked with models, the more the food deprivation became obvious. Cigarettes and Diet Coke were dietary staples. Sometimes you would see the tell-tale signs of anorexia, where a girl develops a light fuzz on her face and arms as her body struggles to stay warm. I have never, in all my career, heard a model say «I’m hot», not even if you wrapped her in fur and put her in the middle of the desert.
Society is understandably concerned about the issues surrounding body image and eating disorders, and the dangerous and unrealistic messages being sent to young women via fashion journals. When it comes to who should be blamed for the portrayal of overly thin models, magazine editors are in the direct line of fire, but it is more complex than that. The «fit» model begins the fashion process: designer outfits are created around a live, in-house skeleton. Few designers have a curvy or petite fit model. These collections are then sent to the runway, worn by tall, pin-thin models because that’s the way the designer wants to see the clothes fall. There will also be casting directors and stylists involved who have a vision of the type of woman they envisage wearing these clothes. For some bizarre reason, it seems they prefer her to be young, coltish, 6ft tall and built like a prepubescent boy.
It is too simplistic to blame misogynistic men, although in some cases I believe that criticism is deserved. There are a few male fashion designers I would like to personally strangle. But there are many female fashion editors who perpetuate the stereotype, women who often have a major eating disorder of their own. They get so caught up in the hype of how brilliant clothes look on a size 4, they cannot see the inherent danger in the message. It cannot be denied that visually, clothes fall better on a slimmer frame, but there is slim, and then there is scary skinny.
Despite protestations by women who recognise the danger of portraying any one body type as «perfect», the situation is not improving. If you look back at the heady days of the supermodels in the late 80s and early 90s, beauties such as Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigová and Claudia Schiffer look positively curvaceous compared to the sylphs of today. There was a period in the last three years when some of the girls on the runways were so young and thin, and the shoes they were modelling so high, it actually seemed barbaric. I would watch the ready-to-wear shows on the edge of my seat, apprehensive and anxious. I’m not comfortable witnessing teen waifs almost on the point of collapse
After the shows, the collection is made available for the press to use for their shoots. These are the samples we all work with and they are obviously the size of the model who wore them on the runway. Thus, a stylist must cast a model who will fit into these tiny sizes. And they have become smaller since the early 90s. We’ve had couture dresses arrive from Europe that are so minuscule they resemble christening robes. There are no bigger samples available, and the designer probably has no interest in seeing their clothes on larger women. Many high fashion labels are aghast at the idea of producing a size 14, and they certainly wouldn’t want to see it displayed in the pages of the glossies.
As a Vogue editor I was of the opinion that we didn’t necessarily need to feature size 14-plus models in every issue. It is a fashion magazine; we are showcasing the clothes. I am of the belief that an intelligent reader understands that a model is chosen because she carries clothes well. Some fashion suits a curvier girl, some doesn’t. I see no problem with presenting a healthy, toned, Australian size 10 [UK 8-10]. But as sample sizes from the runway shows became smaller, 10 was no longer an option and the girls were dieting drastically to stay in the game.
It is the ultimate vicious cycle. A model who puts on a few kilos can’t get into a sample size on a casting and gets reprimanded by her agency. She begins to diet, loses the weight, and is praised by all for how good she looks. But instead of staying at that weight, and trying to maintain it through a sensible diet and exercise, she thinks losing more will make her even more desirable. And no one tells her to stop.
Girls who can’t diet their breasts away will have surgical reductions. They then enter into dangerous patterns of behaviour that the industry – shockingly – begins to accept as par for the course. We had a term for this spiral in the office. When a model who was getting good work in Australia starved herself down two sizes in order to be cast in the overseas shows – the first step to an international career – we would say in the office that she’d become «Paris thin». This dubious achievement was generally accompanied by mood swings, extreme fatigue, binge eating and sometimes bouts of self-harming. All in the quest to fit into a Balenciaga sample.
Not every model has an eating disorder, but I would suggest that every model is not eating as much as she would like to. In 1995 I cast a lovely Russian model for a studio shoot in Paris, and I noticed that by mid-afternoon she hadn’t eaten a thing (we always catered). Her energy was fading, so I suggested we stop so she could have a snack. She shook her head and replied: «No, no. It is my job not to eat.» It was one of the only sentences she knew how to say in English.
A few years later we booked another Russian girl, who was also starving herself, on a trip to Marrakech. When the team went out to dinner at night she ordered nothing, but then hunger would get the better of her and she would pick small pieces of food off other people’s plates. I’ve seen it happen on many trips. The models somehow rationalise that if they didn’t order anything, then they didn’t really take in the calories. They can tell their booker at the agency before they sleep that they only had a salad. By the end of the trip, she didn’t have the energy to even sit up; she could barely open her eyes. We actually had her lie down next to a fountain to get the last shot.
In 2004, a fashion season in which the girls were expected to be particularly bone-thin, I was having lunch in New York with a top agent who confidentially expressed her concern to me, as she did not want to be the one to expose the conspiracy. «It’s getting very serious,» she said. She lowered her tone and glanced around to see if anyone at the nearby tables could hear. «The top casting directors are demanding that they be thinner and thinner. I’ve got four girls in hospital. And a couple of the others have resorted to eating tissues. Apparently they swell up and fill your stomach.»
I was horrified to hear what the industry was covering up and I felt complicit. We were all complicit. But in my experience it is practically impossible to get a photographer or a fashion editor – male or female – to acknowledge the repercussions of using very thin girls. They don’t want to. For them, it’s all about the drama of the photograph. They convince themselves that the girls are just genetically blessed, or have achieved it through energetic bouts of yoga and eating goji berries.
I was at the baggage carousel with a fashion editor collecting our luggage after a trip and I noticed a woman standing nearby. She was the most painfully thin person I had ever seen, and my heart went out to her. I pointed her out to the editor who scrutinised the poor woman and said: «I know it sounds terrible, but I think she looks really great.» The industry is rife with this level of body dysmorphia from mature women.
In my early years at the magazine there was no minimum age limit on models, and there were occasions that girls under the age of 16 were used. Under my editorship, the fashion office found a new favourite model – Katie Braatvedt, a 15-year-old from New Zealand. We had her under contract: the idea being that Vogue grooms and protects the girls at the beginning of their careers. But in April 2007 I ran a cover of Katie wearing an Alex Perry gown standing in a treehouse, and received a storm of protest, from readers and the media, accusing us of sexualising children. I lamely debated the point, claiming that the photographs were meant to be innocent and charming, but in the end I had to agree wholeheartedly with the readers. I felt foolish even trying to justify it. I immediately instigated a policy that we would not employ models under the age of 16. Internationally Vogue has since launched a project called Health Initiative, instigated by the US Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, which bans the use of models under 16 and pledges that they will not use models they know to be suffering from eating disorders. The first part you can police. The second is disingenuous nonsense, because unless you are monitoring their diet 24/7, you just can’t be sure.
I had no dealings with Wintour during those years, and on the few occasions we were introduced, her sense of froideur was palpable. The deference she commands from people is astonishing to watch. There appears to exist some kind of psychological condition that causes seemingly sane and successful adults to prostrate themselves in her presence. It’s not just respect – it’s something else. People actually want to be scared witless of her, so she obliges. After they had met me, people would often say: «You’re so nice and normal» – often I think with a tinge of disappointment, wishing I’d been just a little bit like Wintour. I could never win. I was either expected to be terrifying or snobbish. And I don’t consider myself either.
Being a Vogue editor is precarious. It’s a job everybody in the industry desires, and most people are convinced they could do it better. I was harder on myself than anybody would be if I made a mistake, and when you’re the editor of Vogue, your slip-ups are very public. Traditional publishing is under enormous pressure, with declining revenues and readership, and decisions are being made to radically cut costs and do anything to please the advertiser. For me, this is perilous. I still believe in the magic.
This is an edited extract from The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements. Buy it for £8.99 (RRP £12.99) at guardianbookshop.co.uk or call 0330 333 6846.
Is fashion making a worrying return to size zero?
The Y2K trend that has the industry in a chokehold may also be resurrecting the unattainable, super-slim body ideal of the era
15 March 2023
Text Rosalind Jana Illustration Jethro Nepomuceno
This article was originally published in March 2022. Across the course of the last 12 months, the shift towards standard-sized and smaller models has picked up momentum, with fashion largely turning its back on the mid-size and curve models it had begun to invite onto its runways. Here Rosalind Jana explores some of the reasons why this could be happening.
Fifteen years ago, the fashion world was subject to a wave of public concern. The words ‘size zero’ began to appear in newspaper headlines, often in the context of the deaths of three models: Uruguayan sisters Luisel and Eliana Ramos, who died six months apart aged 22 and 18, and Brazilian 21-year-old Ana Carolina Reston. Many of the headlines, particularly among the tabloids, were sensationalist in their wording – references to eating disorders discussed in lurid terms.
This wasn’t the first time that fashion’s demand for extreme thinness had been the subject of debate. In 1997, a group of designers including Stella McCartney and John Galliano came together to condemn the growing phenomenon of so-called heroin chic, stating “ We… disapprove of the fashion industry glamorising the use of addictive substances.»
Now, we tend to think of heroin chic as a physical phenomenon – an image of underweight girlhood, young and grungy and worryingly fragile – but at the time it was clearly linked with a more general sense of moral panic about the perceived allure of drugs. It was considered important enough for American presidents to have opinions on, with Bill Clinton also proclaiming in 1997 that “you do not need to glamourise addiction to sell clothing.”
The ‘size zero’ furore had more sticking power. Perhaps it was because it came off the back of this earlier wave of outrage. Maybe, too, it felt like part of a general Y2K tilt towards a particularly unattainable body type: think Paris Hilton in hip bone-skimming low rise jeans, and teen pop stars with impossibly flat stomachs accentuated by tiny crop tops and belly-button piercings.
Additionally fuelled by images of perilously thin models on the catwalk, the ensuing wave of concern was concrete enough to have actual consequences. It yielded parliamentary debates and widespread calls for change. In reality, what this largely meant was everyone in the fashion industry palming off responsibility onto one another, as editors blamed designers, and designers blamed model agents. A number of countries made lacklustre attempts to ban size-zero models from walking shows. Meanwhile, a huge amount of media ire was directed at the models themselves.
“Over the past few years as the industry has made strides towards greater inclusivity not just of body size but also age and race, there have been low level murmurs of worry about how many might view this less as a permanent change and more as a trend with an expiry date”
Now, the fashion industry would like to tell you that it’s changed. It’s a new, body-positive era, baby. Gone are the days when girls had to starve themselves to be in with a minute chance of making it big. Banished is the toxic promise that, with the desired measurements, an aspiring model might get cast in all the hot shows and land a lucrative ad campaign, so accessing the money, visibility, and status her agency promised on first signing her before she was old enough to legally drink. Right?
Recently, there have been rumblings of concern. For all the progress made when it comes to the inclusion of a range of body types in the world of high-end fashion, with models like Ashley Graham, Paloma Elsesser, Jill Kortleve, and Precious Lee gracing magazine covers and catwalks, there are signs that things may be regressing. Many lay blame at the feet of the current 00s revival. They worry that the return to skimpy dresses and cut-outs everywhere from hips to clavicles might be contributing to a renewed desire for the kind of bodies that were valorised at the turn of the millennium.
In the last month or so, these concerns have coalesced around the now-infamous Miu Miu skirt set. Composed of a tiny, belted skirt and similarly belted top or boob-skimming shirt and cable knit jumper, all hacked down to their smallest possible proportions as though a teenage girl took a pair of scissors to her uniform, the set has appeared on everyone from Nicole Kidman to Zendaya, Saweetie, Hailey Bieber, Bimini, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski (the latter two in the more demure long skirt). It’s a design made to draw attention to the legs and stomach. There is no need for those legs and stomach to look any particular way, but it’s notable that for many celebrities, models and industry insiders it’s become a desirable outfit to frame their toned and honed bods.
“In a recent edition of her Opulent Tips newsletter, Rachel Tashjian touched on a growing sense of unease among industry peers at a potential backlash to ‘body positivity’. Despite some good steps forward, she observed, ‘just as often, the models look thinner than ever’”
Tyler McCall, editor in chief of Fashionista.com, is perturbed by what she currently sees. “ I don’t think it’s necessarily a one-for-one correlation, but I can’t see how it wouldn’t seep into the minds of designers as they mine the aughts for inspiration,” she explains of fashion’s turn towards post-millenium style. “That time felt even more thin-obsessed than normal, especially towards the end of the decade, so it would make sense that if you had that imagery at top of mind, it would come out in casting as well.”
To McCall, this is emblematic of good old fashion world hypocrisy. As she pointed out on Twitter, it’s all well and good for a larger model to wear the Miu Miu set on the cover of a magazine, but at the same time many luxury brands still seldom use any plus-size models in their shows, and can only provide pieces to for said covers by custom making them.
“Dressing one or two approved fat celebrities in custom clothing is a way to be involved in the inclusivity conversation in a topical, tokenistic fashion,” she elaborates. “If brands were really interested in making significant changes, they’d start by expanding size offerings at retail for customers and then work with famous clientele to announce those sizes were available, but they don’t – which I think sends the message very clearly that they don’t actually care.”
“Personally, when I look at a show now and they haven’t used someone [who isn’t sample size], it feels a bit dated” – Anna Shillinglaw
It’s a critique that could be levelled at a number of brands. Moschino has dressed Lizzo on various occasions, but it’s hard to find their clothes at any size above a 16 in the UK (and even then, most of the offerings are t-shirts and jumpers rather than the high fashion frocks). Ditto Versace, where the size 18 options are largely limited to mumsy pleated skirts and shirts, rather than any of the va-va-voom minidresses for which the brand is best known.
When it comes to casting decisions though, it’s not all Y2K fever. “ I do think overall we’re seeing bodies trending smaller again,” McCall adds. It’s an observation that’s been heard elsewhere, including in a recent edition of Opulent Tips , the cult subscriber-only newsletter from Rachel Tashjian, fashion news director at Harper’s Bazaar. In it, she touched on a growing sense of unease among industry peers at a potential backlash to ‘body positivity’. Despite some good steps forward, she observed, “just as often, the models look thinner than ever.”
Fashion thrives on the fresh and the new. It wants to revive the thing that previously looked dull, and alight on the image that doesn’t feel done. Over the past few years, as the industry has made strides towards greater inclusivity not just of body size but also age and race, there have been low-level murmurs of worry about how many might view this less as a permanent change and more as a trend with an expiry date. What happens when fashion’s permanent pendulum swing comes into conflict with the idea that progress is an ever-improving, ever-upward-climbing curve?
“I think we’ve seen a lot of positive change. But I still don’t think [seeing larger bodies on the runway] has been normalised. It’s the exception, rather than the rule” – Fran Burns
The truth is we’re not back in 2007. Casting is better. Everyone is aware that ‘this is just how it is’ or admissions of blithe blindness to the problem are not adequate explanations for why a magazine or brand’s imagery is too white or too thin. We have Precious Lee looking stunning on the cover of ELLE . We have shows like Valentino’s haute couture presentation in January that featured pieces crafted on ten different fit models of varying proportions.
As Anna Shillinglaw, founder of model agency MiLK Management explains, “We had eight models in the Valentino show. Having a fashion house like that doing it so beautifully has inspired other people.” For her curve board, this is their best season yet. “There’s a long way to go, but it’s better than it ever has been,” she says. “Normally, with many popular designers, you’d have one curve girl. This season, they were using three or four. Having been fighting for this for so long, it feels like a small win.” She thinks it’s a question of moving by inches, not miles. “Personally, when I look at a show now and they haven’t used someone [who isn’t sample size], it feels a bit dated.”
Those standard sample sizes remain a major sticking point though. Stylist Fran Burns caused a stir in 2020 when she posted a close-up photo of a slender model in a pair of Celine trousers by Hedi Slimane that wouldn’t do up. Slimane is notorious for his use of very skinny models. The experience, Burns said at the time, made her feel “like a twisted creep”. Two years on, has anything changed when it comes to samples? “No, it’s exactly the same,” she says. “I think we’ve seen a lot of positive change. But I still don’t think it’s been normalised. It’s the exception, rather than the rule.” That rule means that most clothes being produced for catwalk and editorial purposes remain designed to clad only the very thin.
“Young designers especially get chastised if they’re not inclusive in their presentations. I think it’s really unfair that there’s so much responsibility placed on [their] shoulders, when you’ve got these great big houses that do absolutely nothing about it” – Fran Burns
Burns, however, thinks blame is laid out unevenly. “Young designers especially get chastised if they’re not inclusive in their presentations. I think it’s really unfair that there’s so much responsibility placed on [their] shoulders, when you’ve got these great big houses that do absolutely nothing about it.” The next generation of designers, it seems, are meant to remedy the ills of those who went before: focusing on inclusivity and sustainability in order to build businesses that minimise harm to both people and the environment. All of that is meant to be achieved without the capital that a brand owned by LVMH or Kering has, which would make it so much easier to scale up patterns, produce larger ranges of samples, and meaningfully reshape the industry.
It also falls, she thinks, to particular models to carry the responsibility of ‘representation’. “Now it feels like there’s so much [riding] on Paloma. She’s absolutely phenomenal, as a person inside and out. She is the face of change in this discussion, without a shadow of a doubt. But it’s not enough for it just to be on her shoulders. There need to be more women.”
“Fashion doesn’t just celebrate thinness any more, thank god, but it’s still largely in thrall to it. It’s a cruel trick. Thanks to that incremental, visible change in some quarters, it’s almost easier for it to escape scrutiny elsewhere”
We live in an odd age. It almost seems a little passé now to focus so closely on an issue like fashion inclusivity (in the same way, arguably, that the embarrassing girlboss-ification of female empowerment has led many to shrug their shoulders and take equality as the given goal without actively doing much about it). Right now, there is no real outrage to capitalise on, and fewer passionate arguments for the welfare of the very young models cast for shows and shoots. But speak to anyone within the industry – or take a cursory glance at catwalk imagery – and you’ll see that those core problems remain.
Fashion doesn’t just celebrate thinness anymore, thank god, but it’s still largely in thrall to it. It’s a cruel trick. Thanks to that incremental, visible change in some quarters, it’s almost easier for it to escape scrutiny elsewhere. We can’t blame fashion alone for this. Look at any of the overlapping worlds that rely on celebrity spectacle and the power of the visual. Actresses, musicians, and influencers all, similarly, possess bodies that are relentlessly surveyed and regularly lionised for fitting into particular, predetermined categories of beauty. Ultimately, the Y2K question is something of a smokescreen. For all the nods towards progressivism and praise around the welcome widening of parameters, much of the world of image-making has merely carried on like it always has. You can’t have a pendulum swing back towards something that never went away.