Thursday, March 29, 2007

cultural debate in fashion.

How thin is too thin and how does this relate to fashion?

Runway models dressed in the latest high fashion collections of Chanel, Jean Paul Gautier, Marc Jacobs, and other hot designers walk the catwalks of New York, Paris, and Milan. Models have come to represent a beauty ideal, however it is an ideal that is impossible to achieve for the majority of women. Only 1% of women naturally have this super tall super thin body type. So where does that leave the rest of the women, starving? In many cases that is what these models are doing, starving themselves and creating unhealthy body images and eating habits for young women in America.

After several runway models have died of being malnourished in South America and Europe, many cities, like Milan and Madrid, have put a minimum requirement of body mass index on models who want to walk the runway. Where the debate comes in is that while many people in the industry and out support this requirement and think it should be required in every fashion capital city, many models believe it is their body and their right to have it look the way they wish, and many designers believe it is their creative right to achieve the look they want from these waif like models. And "While shows in Milan and Madrid have taken action to ban models deemed too skinny, the British Fashion Council said that regulations were "neither desirable or enforceable.""

While actresses like "Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz have [] spoken out against the trend towards "size zero" models," some people in the industry support these super thin ideals. "Fashion photographer Mario Testino told CNN that the fashion industry had no cause for concern. "We are in a business to sell clothes. Clothes look better on a thinner person, but I don't think that clothes look good on a skeleton, myself."

I think that models need to be regulated by their agencies and the designers they are working for to ensure that they are having healthy eating habits. There is a difference between someone who is thin and healthy and fit and someone who is clearly starving themselves. Not only is this endangering the health and lives of these models, but it is affecting the self esteem of young girls and endangering their health. I think that there needs to be more positive role models for young girls in the fashion industry, and that fashion can sell on someone who is a size 2 or 4 as well if not better than it sells on someone who is a size 00 and unhealthy.

London Fashion Week hit by skinny row