Monday, August 25, 2008

When Will Fashion Designers Stop Encouraging Anorexia?

Queen Latifah in a gown by designer Tadashi Shoji adorns the front-page of the Personal Journal section of the August 21st Wall Street Journal. The accompanying article by Christina Binkley titled “Dressing Women of a Certain Size” describes the opportunity Tadashi seized upon when he started offering versions of his fashion collection in sizes up to 24.

These large sizes, of course, are sacrilege in the designer community, where a “plus-size” model may wear a size 8 even though the average for American women is a size 14.

And it was particularly enjoyable to read about former model Paige Adams-Geller who had the audacity to suggest to high-end jeans manufacturers that they consider designing for women who wear a size 10. When the designers said they didn’t want someone that size wearing their brand, she started Paige Premium Denim – jeans for up to size 28 (4X).

In an August 14th Journal article titled “Slim Chance: an Aspiring Model’s Challenge,” Christina Binkley relates the story of 18-year-old Tatiana Stewart. Although Tatiana is a size 4 at 6’2” she is told at fashion-modeling auditions she must lose weight.

This fashion-industry insistence on stick-thin models is a gross injustice both to the models who are made to sometimes starve themselves to death as well as America’s young women who are constantly subjected to ads of super-thin models with the toll those ads take on the self-image of the young women.

What I don’t understand is why America’s mental health workers don’t form a national coalition to pressure Madison Avenue and the fashion designers to stop insisting on starvation-thin models. Now that would be a worthwhile mission.

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