I once watched a television show, whose host said, that fashion models are supposed to be like human hangers.
But have you seen what a hanger looks like?
Even with the small strides fashion has taken to embrace different races and ethnicities, size remains the industry’s biggest challenge.
For several decades now, the fashion industry has prided itself in creating beautiful and trendy clothes, as well as, helping put its models on the map, catapulting many careers.
The models who give us the opportunity to see these creations live and in motion, are typically, tall and very slender. The fashion model archetype boasts a small waist, small hips, and an almost-non-existent bust area.
While this “ideal” look has worked (for the most part) in the industry, it has become quite a problem outside of it.
The average model who is about 5’9″, lean, and weighs in about 110 pounds, does not represent the greater populous of women in the United States.
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that for women aged 20 and over, the average waist size is 37.5 inches. That is a drastic difference compared to the average model waist size of 24 inches.
A model’s body measurements are 33 inches (bust), 24 inches (waist), and 34 inches (hip), which means that a model’s hip measures about 3 inches less than the average woman’s waist.
Now, if all of these numbers are confusing, you are not alone!!!
For the non-models who love fashion, clothes shopping can be quite a chore, as they are unable to find designer brands in their size.
Most designer brands produce clothing that only go up to a size 8 or 10, which leaves the average woman desperately searching for alternatives to accommodate her size 18/20 figure.
There have been many arguments for and against this size dilemma. Many people believe that the fashion industry’s refusal to loosen the reigns on the “skinny bod” image have contributed to body shaming and dysmorphia, low self-esteem, and a host of eating disorders, such as: anorexia and bulimia.
Many girls face body image issues from, as early as, 8 years old. They are exposed to television shows, magazines, and other reading material, that facilitate their negative attitudes and perceptions about their bodies.
And it just gets worse as these young girls get older.
Conversely, the industry is more than happy flaunting their skinny models, as it helps attain a level of exclusivity.
The fashion industry has a target clientele – wealthy, slender, and maybe famous – and that is who, clothes are designed for.
They have gotten away with this kind of logic for decades because they have also managed to manipulate the health concerns of the country, regarding weight.
America has a weight problem. Something like, half of the country are considered obese, according to medical standards. And so the industry has used this to justify their unwillingness to design and create clothing for larger sizes, as it would “condone” or encourage obesity and unhealthy dietary practices.
But this argument coming from the fashion industry is undeniably hypocritical. Throughout the years, reports on the diets of models have shown extremely harmful practices forced upon them by industry professionals to keep their weight “under control”.
Models have passed out on runways and photo shoots, experienced organ failure, abused drugs and alcohol, and have even died, in attempts to maintain the “perfect” size.
When I did my fashion internship, these were the kind of customs that I scoffed at. I felt like they took a lot away from fashion and all that it could offer the world.
The fashion industry should not be one of those haughty social clubs whose members speak with fake British accents, but rather, be represented as an entity that can reach many people.
The industry has more to lose, as women are becoming more aware and appreciative of their bodies, no longer seeking approval or trying to attain an image that is unrealistic or unhealthy.
Women are embracing their curves and voluptuousness now, more than ever. Some fashion designers have even created plus-size divisions of their brands and added a size or two to their already-established collections.
But is that enough?
We have to reach a point where everyone can have access to the same fashion, regardless of size!
Image Credits: thebertshow.com; pinterest.com; glamour.com; huffingtonpost.com; democraticunderground.com; 92newshd.tv; naturalmodelsla.tumblr.com