This past Monday, Anna Wintour and Michael Kors stood in front of Harvard Business School, along with the Harris Center for Education and Advocacy of Eating Disorders, to talk about the fashion industry and what they want to see done in the future in terms of health for the models. Now I might now be smart enough for Harvard, but I would have loved to see those two fabulous role models.
So what do these role models have in store for us? There are two major issues at hand which I’ve talked about before and while they’re being acknowledged, with this power behind them, change might actually start to happen. The first is age regulations for models. Kors announced that night that he is not going to employ any model who’s under 16 for his shows and with that, he wants more supervision for models who are under 18. As he said,
“The fashion industry is starting to address real women again. Adults are in vogue. What a shock. This show season really was about the return of the adult in every city. . .The emphasis in fashion is shifting toward an emphasis on real women who are women, not girls. The reality is that women who buy designer clothes are 30-plus. The visual has to match the reality. Girls dressed up in their mother’s clothes? Guess what, it’s not attractive.’’
I remember when I watched America, the Beautiful and the model the documentary followed for her story was gorgeous, BUT she was only 12 years old. At 12, you’re still so young, growing and wanting to play and be a child, but she was partying with the older models at topless pool parties and modeling clothes that I’d either wear going out or even not at all. I’m twice her age.
The second is to focus more on the health of models. In 2006, Spain banned very thin models from their runways. Paris has talked about a similar regulation, but I’m not sure if it’s been enacted as of now and while there’s been a lot of talk about this in the U.S., we have yet to see the change. Going along with the age regulations, health advocates and officials have been blaming the fashion industry for years for hiring too thin, prepubescent girls to model what a grown woman would wear. The body structure just isn’t the same.
What’s scary is that as Kors said,
“I think super-young girls used to be the exception. There’s always been a Twiggy, or a model who is very young. But they were few and far between. Now, they’re completely common. That’s something I see as a huge problem.’’
The good thing is that you’ve seen on here before the small changes that designers and magazines have done. Glamour has been using plus-size models in their spreads- sometimes in line with straight sized models, which I think is a great way to integrate diversity. Designer Mark Fast used size 10 and 12 models in his most recent runway show at London Fashion Week while Louis Vuitton and Prada put models in their 30s and 40s on the runway in Paris and Milan.
And while just talking about these issues doesn’t make change happen, it does put them in the open and have the opinions and feelings heard. As Wintour said,
“Every time we hold one of these forums, I feel that the voice of models’ health advances just a little bit more. A model’s weight or her waist size, or her attitude toward food, these were all taboo subjects whispered about in corridors or behind closed doors.’’
What do you want to see the fashion industry do for their models or for their consumer? I think these are great starts, but is there something else that could be done?
In other news, I’m starting to wrap up my independent study and while I’m going to definitely continue this blog after, if you want to talk with me or still participate, please do so 🙂
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