The size zero issue
Global Fashion Weeks are coming to an end and one can’t deny that the 60’s and 70’s revival-esque clothes are beautiful.
The Central Saint Martins MA show was especially a hit for Phoebe English and Viktor Smedinge who managed to scoop the Loreal Professional prize, awarded by Elle’s Fashion Features Director Rebecca Lowthorpe, and boy did they deserve it.
With their poignant and outlandish designs, which included black ‘mourning’ type dresses laden in what can only be described as ‘shredded paper’ type detail by English, and Smedinge's bold earthy coloured collection was show stopping.
But I couldn't help noticing the girls, and some of the men, that were donning London Fashion Week’s (LFW) Autumn/Winter 2011 trends.
To say these models had miniature frames would be a complete understatement.
My jaw dropped when I saw the sizes of PPQ’s line up of models, especially the one with the tattoo between her shoulder blades, who was unarguably below a size zero.
Having worked at LFW in the past, I know some of the models, some as young as 14, are encouraged to maintain their skeletal forms in order to grace the catwalk.
It’s the designers themselves that request these human hangers in such small sizes, and so long as they continue to do so, the model agencies will keep churning out the diet wielding, ill looking “Stepford” individuals with disgracefully low life spans.
Yes, this is a very well trodden topic and it is something that comes up year after year but until it is addressed properly this issue is not going to go away.
For a brief moment in 2010 a few designers, like Mark Fast, decided to use size eight and ten models in their shows after furious campaigns by the likes of Katie Green (Ultimo model) and Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik, but that fad didn’t last long.
Over a period of less than a year between 2006 and 2007 the world went in to shock when five catwalk models died from eating disorders in “rapid-fire succession”.
The first was 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston who died as a result of several years battling with anorexia and bulimia.
Followed by 84-pound Maiara Galvao Vieira who was a mere 14 years old when she surrendered to anorexia and went in to cardiac arrest, killing her instantly.
Israeli model, Hila Elmalich, died of heart failure after her 21 year battle with anorexia at just 34 years old.
Lastly and probably the most heart wrenching was Uruguayan models and sisters Luisel Ramos, 22 and Eliana Ramos, 18 who died within six months of each other.
Luisel died moments after stepping off the catwalk at Uruguay Fashion Week, after adopting a diet of lettuce and diet coke for a period of three months prior to the show; her sister, Eliana, died six months later as a result of malnutrition.
With the likes of Kenneth Tong who promote the ‘size zero look’ spouting mantras like "No food tastes as good as thin feels" and "Go look in the mirror and hate yourself", it is no wonder that we have a society of self-loathing females, and males, some of whom fixate on moulding their image on the catwalk model look.
This size zero issue is something that doesn’t look as if it is going to change, designers will constantly deny that they are requesting size zero models for their shows and these models will continue to say they are “naturally thin”.
But how many more models are we going to have to watch collapse or even die on the catwalk before someone decides enough is enough?