Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Zero Tolerance

Today I feel the need to mention the Size Zero debate, which now seems to be reaching boiling point. This week at London Fashion Week, EVERYONE is talking about Mark Fast and his decision to use plus size models on the catwalk. A bold move and in my opinion a huge step forward for the world of modelling, Mark himself described his move as “ a rebellion against safeness”. As a result of his controversial show, his stylist and his creative designer were so infuriated they walked out three days before the show.

As a young lady who grew up in an era when skinny was cool, I will stand up and be counted. I admit that I have tried EVERY diet on the block. The cabbage diet, the no sugar diet, the only fruit and veg diet, the not eating anything until you feel faint diet... I could go on. After years of battling with forms of self loathing by feeling I haven’t got the will power to starve myself to the necessary means to become my perfect size, believing three meals a day isn’t acceptable amount of food for the modern day woman (i believed three healthy meals a day was a form of gluttony) and thinking that my naturally curvaceous figure (I always have and always will have a big boobs and a big behind) made me ‘fat’ I got to thinking about how I got here, and where this constant obsession with my relationship with food has come from, and the effects it has had on me.

So I got talking with a few young ladies of this size zero generation, and it seems everyone knows someone who’s been affected by this horrible trend, a trend which if it gets bad enough can result in regular hospital visits, limp unhealthy hair, loss of teeth, and most scary of all infertility. Eating disorders are a massive, massive problem in today’s society. I have known more than a few people to have dangerous relationships with their diet, and as a result I have seen the effects of these eating disorders on not only the individuals but also their friends and family.

Back in June, Alexandra Schulman (the British editor of Vogue) exposed the bare truth of the matter, that it is designers who demand ultra skinny models. According to the letter, the designers are gradually shaving millimetres off sample sizes, therefore forcing these naturally slender models to lose what little bit of body fat they have left. As a result, if a glossy magazine then wishes to use these designers latest collection within their publication (which is likely as Schulman sent the letter to the top designers in fashion such as Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga), these same underweight girls are the models they will be forced to use as otherwise, the dresses won’t fit.

Now, I understand that slender has always been the way for fashion but size zero is starting a massive health crisis in today’s youth, with the obvious consequence that young women (and men, this affects both genders) are aspiring to these frames which are only achievable on a lifestyle in which anorexia and bulimia are acceptable methods of dieting. So I just wanted to say it’s not right, and it’s certainly not ok. By elimating food, or drink from your diet (remember alcohol contains calories) you elimate an aspect of life which everyone should enjoy, socialising. After years of living by the rules of these designers I think it’s time people stood up and demanded a change.


  1. This article hits the nail on the head. Mark Fast has sent out a very positive message to young women by allowing 'normal sized' models to wear his clothes on the catwalk. The girls looked great and his clothes looked fantastic. I have attended a few LFW shows before now and many of the models look obviously annorexic. Looking pasty and ill is not sexy in my view, and if there is a conspiracy by designers to make sample sizes even smaller then it is shameful. Models have even died in the fight to be thin, and really, there is so much more to life...

  2. Well done for writing about this Alice, sorry but this article should be sent to all the designers at Fashion week. From seeing photos and talking to people the models were all looking starving and faint as usual, its disgusting when people are actually starving in other countries. There is an aneorexic lady in our office who works on a fashion magazine and I feel so bad for her, she looks about 80 although she is probably in her 30's, she has probably been affected by what she sees in the magazines and catwalks, she can barely open a door...very sad! Also I thought the size 14 model was beautiful much nicer than some of the twigs! hehe Em x

  3. EyethinkthereforeIam24 September 2009 at 01:11

    Great points well made. And let's face it skinny models should have been consigned to the 20th century - that waif look (as personified by Twiggy) was sooo 1960s. She looks better now - perhaps we should be calling her 'Branchy'? Big it up girls. Lead the way Alice.

  4. Plus size models? Sounds like an excellent idea. Just off to the biscuit tin. If you need me to slip into a Versace, just call. xx

  5. I completely agree with your viewpoint Alice, and it's so refreshing to read a Fashion Week article that considers the pressure put on both models and the rest of our generation to be unhealthily thin. Great summary of one of the key debates for anyone interested in the fashion industry.

    Lily xxx