February 2, 2007

"People who are already large are getting larger and on the other side is this shrinking ideal."

That's a quote from eating-disorder expert Cynthia M. Bulik, in Robin Givhan's excellent article describing super-thin runway models. "That makes the gulf between the actual and the ideal even bigger and that makes self-esteem plummet."

Designers claim to need extra-thin models to make their clothes look good when the clothes are designed thin. But isn't this a problem at the sales point? If the clothes are designed to look good when hanging from hanger-like shoulders, how is any real woman going to think they look right on her?
People buying designer clothes are super-thin.
Well, yeah. That's my point though. There are other people choosing not to buy. Why don't you want them as customers?
In the meantime, companies catering to the mass population, such as Coldwater Creek and Chico's, offer sizes 14 and 16 in lieu of 0 and 2.
Why do the designers concede all these customers?
Those in the fashion industry offer this reassurance: The pendulum will swing the other way. In due time, the industry will celebrate a more athletic ideal. This is discussed as if it will magically happen -- as if an outside force beyond the control of the industry will determine when that shift will occur.
The force of the market?

13 comments:

Simon said...

"Designers claim to need extra-thin models to make their clothes look good when the clothes are designed thin."

Which is no answer at alll - it just begs the question of why they design them thin. It's answering the question but evading the point -- "where am I?" "You're in a car."

AJ Lynch said...

Here is a really good soundbite from the article spoken by Dr. Bulik:

"Genes load the gun and environment pulls the trigger," Bulik says. "And the fashion industry is sitting there with its finger on the trigger."

Can't argue with that huh?

George said...

They need to eat more meals at McDonalds....

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16828944/from/ET/

In 2002, only 0.5% of all McDonalds were open 24-hours-a-day.

The percentage today?

40 percent.

And the typical American family eats out five times a week!

Bruce Hayden said...

I do have one person in my life whom I drive crazy with the answer of "I'm in the car" when called and asked where I am. By now, this person is getting a bit artful in trying to nail my location down a bit more precisely. Right now, it is something like: "Where geographically are you and the car right now?"

More to the point, I do see a slow shift towards a more athletic look in women. Or, maybe it is that I live in Colorado. But will it show up on the runway?

Simon said...

A related but off-topic question: I noticed that the new blogger allows one to subscribe to comments via an atom feed. Which is a really neat feature that I will use invariably.

However -- are there any RSS/atom clients for mac that are like alertbear? I don't really like rss clients that are kind of like email clients.

Guesst said...

The fashion industry is dominated by men who want women to look like skinny young boys.

Slim hips and buttocks, no breasts--gaunt and sad.

It will only change when women decide it's an unacceptable standard, being set for them by designers whose views of the ideal woman, is a man.

Eli Blake said...

Did you hear about the supermodel who stepped on an ant?

It carried her back to the anthill.

miked0268 said...

This whole phenomenon has a beneficial side effect that most overlook: normal sized women are now somewhat protected from getting ripped off buying absurdly overpriced designer clothes.

Long ago, I worked in the garment industry. We'd be cutting $12 K-Mart shirts and $100 Donna Karan shirts on the same table. Same quality, same production cost, in many cases the same fabrics.

And the $12 retail was ALREADY a 200-300% markup.

Anthony said...

Do any of these women out in the real world even look to fashion models for their body image? Do "young girls"? Me, I don't think so. The younger ones are watching MTV and The OC, the older ones are seeing movies and Desperate Housewives. Perhaps those who actually buy these clothes look to the models for inspiration, but they're about as representative of American women as I am.

vbspurs said...

Eli wrote:

Did you hear about the supermodel who stepped on an ant?

It carried her back to the anthill.


That's so mean. Hehe.

Of course, the actresses are imitating the models who are imitating the actresses, and so, in some concentration camp one-upmanship, Droste effect.

Have you seen dear Keira Knightley recently? Next time, she's not playing a pirate, but a skeleton in the brig.

(You know, I used to resemble Knightley, at least facially. Not no more...)

Cheers,
Victoria

Katie said...

Ann, I think you should add a Givhan tag!

Robert said...

This may sounds like a bizarre association, but it reminds me of a conundrum in news coverage of wine. In my area (SF Bay Area), there are two daily newspapers with monthly wine sections. One of the wine writers admitted in an articl recently that approximately 80% of the stories they write were about wines costing $20 and up - but 90% of the wine sold in their newspapers' territory costs _under_ $20.00.

The idea that there's a 'haute couture' upper fringe that presents clothes at runway shows that nobody buys and nobody wears, to promote the clothes that are actually being bought and worn (but which do not appear at the runway shows) strikes me as demonstrating that other factors besides free-market economics are at work here.

The oft-repeated meme 'oh, it's the gay fashion designers who want the models to look like adolescent boys' doesn't wash with me. I admit that there _are_ adult gay men who are attracted to adolescent boys, but to the best of my knowledge, the 'boys' so desired more closely resemble Abercrombie & Fitch models than anorexic, hollow-cheeked, heroin chic waifs.

Annie said...

One of my sisters was fairly heavy for years. She found and wore beautiful clothes, and looked beautiful.