The issue of models' weight and size is often discussed in the media, yet things change very little. Designers are still using typically tall and thin models, because they are supposed to make the clothes 'hang better'. Yet it would be much better if designers made clothes to fit actual women, rather than to fit their image of how women should be. So here are some reasons why we need models of different sizes, and not just the 5'11 size 2 girls …
1. Reflect Real Life
Using models of different sizes and shapes would reflect real life much more accurately. How many of us are as tall and slim as the girls on the catwalks? I'm probably as slim, but I'm a good deal shorter! There's no standard woman in spite of what fashion would try to suggest, so let's see a more realistic representation of women. The pictures would still be awesome with the right models, even if they weren't 'model slim'.
2. Promote Healthy Images
It's a debatable point as to how responsible the fashion industry and media is for eating disorders and unhealthy self-images among girls and women. Certainly it can't be the only influence. But what is undeniable is that it does play a role in encouraging the unrealistic idea that we should all be very slim. Using models of different sizes would help promote healthy images instead.
3. Plus Sized Isn't plus Sized
Do you ever get cross to see how the fashion industry defines a plus-sized woman? What they call 'plus-sized' is what everyone else would call a perfectly normal woman. Using models who don't fit into the vogue for tall skinny models would recognise that it's normal for women to vary in size, and that those variations are not unhealthy.
4. Adult Women
Personally, I'm tired of seeing designers and stores use teenagers as young as 14 to model their clothes. Teaching girls that they need to be skinny and tall is not a healthy message. And as a very much adult woman I want to see women of different ages, including my own, in magazines. I don't want to see a teenager used to sell clothes that are supposed to appeal to me.
5. All Women Are Beautiful
If the industry were to design clothes for women who most of us would define as 'plus-sized', and therefore use appropriate models, it would help promote the idea that all women can be beautiful. Some women are stunning even if they're curvier than the average.
6. Sizing Can Vary
Do you find that you're one size in one store, and a different size in another? We're so obsessed with being the 'right' size, and yet stores can't even agree what those sizes should measure. What's more, sizes are very different from the past, as any vintage enthusiast will know. I have a skirt from the 70s that's a UK size 14. I normally take a UK size 6 or 8! So a number is actually rather meaningless.
7. Model's Health
It also shouldn't be overlooked that encouraging models to be very slim, even if (and usually it isn't) they're not that thin naturally, is bad for the health of the models themselves. Modeling is still hyped up as an exciting and lucrative career, but is any amount of money worth endangering your health?
What steps do you think the fashion and media could take to improve?