After a good few years (we are not saying exactly how many!) in fashion, Amanda and I have more or less got a handle on how it all works. There are many many aspects of the industry we love and lots more that we could live without.
This weeks comments by Julian McDonald OBE (!) about plus size models, sums up an attitude which is sadly all too prevalent.
McDonald is a judge on (the hideous) Britain’s Next Top Model, and told the newspaper, Wales on Sunday, that he thought using plus size (BTW, we are talking size 14 ) models, was ‘a joke’, and that (BNTM) ‘is a serious show and a catwalk model is a size six to an eight’.
Ok Julian, how many real people do you actually know, without an eating disorder, who are a size 6? Not even my 14 year old daughters naturally skinny friends, are a size 6. They are all healthy size 8’s,10’s and 12’s – but remember they are 14. Luckily, apart from a couple of girls, they mostly have a healthy attitude to food, but are far too (in my opinion) aware of their weight, which is almost certainly fueled by watching programes such as Britian’s Next Top Model – or Britain’s Next Top Stupid Person, as I affectionately like to call it!.
I was appalled when one of the prettier (but not model material) girls went to try her luck at a modeling agency, where they told her she had the right face, but needed to loose weight. She is a normal size 8/10. She came back determined to go on a diet and her ridiculous mother told her she would diet with her!!! Luckily she lost interest after a couple of weeks and remains an ordinary pretty girl.
So where does this view of what fashionable looks like, come from?
The media and key figures in the fashion industry claim not to want to perpetuate the myth that thin = fashionable and we are seeing more and more celebrities proudly showing off their curvy, athletic bodies. So just why is it, that every single season we see underweight young girls parade down the catwalk in the name of fashion?
I am in danger of sounding homophobic here (nothing could be further from the truth), but maybe one of the reasons is, the gay designers at the high end of fashion often have an unrealistic view of what women should look like and create idealistic fantasy figures based on a gay mans stereotype of a real woman.
I have many many gay friends in fashion who would be the first to admit they want women to look perfect, sexy, feminine, glamorous and most of all thin (well maybe thin with a cleavage!). They don’t want all women to look like this (otherwise they wouldn’t be friends with me!), just the women they design for and the models who wear their clothes. They are not being mean (well maybe sometimes) just true to what they think fashion is all about.
Julian McDonald’s clothes are a case in point. They are clingy, over the top, glamorous and designed for thin girls. Think Jade Jagger and Cheryl Cole.
Ironically, he also puts his name to a collection for Debenhams, and we are pretty sure the women who wear that range are more likely to be around the British average size 14. Doesn’t he take them seriously, does he think they are a joke? We are not sure they would be very happy to hear that Julian!!
What do you think?