London Fashion Week is only a few weeks away; the global fashion phenomenon takes place on the 16th of September 2016. London Fashion Week is considered as the world’s most popular fashion event. An annual event spread across a weekend attended by Hollywood’s elite. The event is filled with stunning supermodels and amazing couture designs from the world’s most renowned creative fashion designers.
Aside from the glitz and glamour, London Fashion Week has been heavily criticised for using unhealthy looking supermodels. For decades’ critics have been observing the increasingly shirking catwalk models. These models are set unrealistic body requirements which they have to adhere to in order to be part of such an event. Female models who are the biggest topic, have to be a certain size and weight in order to qualify. They are expected to be taller than 5ft10 and between a UK size 4 to 0.
Historically catwalk models have been used as ‘Hangers’. Thus meaning the clothes are meant to wear them and not the opposite way around. In Lehman’s terms, they are paid to walk up and down the catwalk to showcase the latest spectacular designs. The focus should solely be on the clothes and not the model.
The decreasing size of the models has become a huge concern to industry insiders and the health authorities. In recent times there has been an increased pressure on models to become much thinner than they already are, visually looking painfully sick and extremely ill. Campaigners such as #NoSizeFitsAll are one of many organisations pushing the agenda of health to the British Fashion Council. They would like to see changes and laws inserted to protect these models and help refocus the younger generation on unhealthy body ideals. This is due to the increasing deaths of models from malnutrition and starvation, and the increase of body dysmorphia, bulimia and anorexia amongst young girls. Models have been documented saying that they are living on two apples a day and some mention of eating paper because of no the calorie intake, which is inhumane and deadly.
The pressures received from designers, popular high street brands and the fashion industry to remain a certain weight is setting unrealistic body examples to women globally. We live in an era where people are judged purely on aesthetic. A Superficial driven society that has set expectations of beauty ideals, created by the media (social media; magazines; television; entertainment etc) who set the narrative that the rest of the world have to conform to, or else are judged and humiliated. Beautiful women such as Kim Kardashian are used as the examples of beauty, which is unfair and dangerous to those unaware and impressionable. Despite her being the ideal to many, for the catwalk she is considered too short and ‘fat’ to be a supermodel despite her having an amazing body.
Boycotters have already started threatening the British Fashion Council and London Fashion Week. This type of pressure has led to a few rule changes; designers have been told to include two sample sizes one of which has to be a UK size 12.
Fashion is a huge influencer to both men and women, therefore designers and the British Fashion Council have a responsivity to be conscious of the message they are sending. They have to start by catering to all and not just a minority of the population who fit the mannequin mould, as the majority are not reflected. Social exclusion of the majority can only increase further crisis such as body dysmorphia, eating disorders and eventually suicide amongst young girls and boy if they continue to push their ideals to those who struggle to attain them.
It has been reported that 45% of women living in the UK are an average dress size 16, and size 12 being the ideal body type. In the UK a size 12 model is considered Plus Size.
Ideal Supermodel & Catwalk body type
Size 16 Plus Size Model