Yes, the fashion shows are lovely and exciting, but it’s easy to forget who is actually on those runways. It is all too common for designers to use tweens and teens to model their clothes, since I’m guessing that an as-yet fully developed body has the right structure to show off their designs. Let’s pause for a moment and ponder the wrongness of that.
We’ve come a long way since the 80’s supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, both of whom were grown women in their heyday, and sported very curvy bodies (at least as far as the fashion world is concerned, not the real one, which is a story for another time). But for some reason designers abandoned that look and now push a much more emaciated looking model as perfection.
Take this statement from my new fave model, Coco Rocha, which reads in part:
But this issue of model’s weight is, and always has been, of concern to me. There are certain moral decisions which seem like no brainers to us. For example, not employing children in sweatshops, and not increasing the addictiveness of cigarettes. When designers, stylists or agents push children to take measures that lead to anorexia or other health problems in order to remain in the business, they are asking the public to ignore their moral conscience in favor of the art.
Surely, we all see how morally wrong it is for an adult to convince an already thin 15 year old that she is actually too fat. It is unforgivable that an adult should demand that the girl unnaturally lose the weight vital to keep her body functioning properly. How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion’s aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it.
Her entire statement is wonderfully written, and worth reading in its entirety.
As always, the consumer is the one with the power of the pocketbook, and it should be up to us to swing the pendulum back in the proper direction. Because teenagers are not the ones buying these clothes, even though they have been deemed the proper vessels to showcase them.