Thin is always trending in the fashion industry. The dark side of the fashion industry includes the desire for a skinny frame. Growing up, I was called skinny, twig, thin and lean. The problem was that it was either said to me as a compliment or as a bad thing, and I was told to eat more, even though I ate a healthy amount of food. A few years ago, I went through a tough period of not eating much, because the over emphasis on commenting on my weight, caused me to fear gaining weight. However, I think there is a serious issue within the industry in terms of its unhealthy obsession with skinny.
The models in the industry are the ones that we see in advertising. This has a huge impact on young girls and women who view these images, and are told that this is the beauty norm. As I previously talked about the need for racial diversity in the fashion industry, there also needs to be diversity in body shapes and ages. Advertising gives a sense of eternal youth, yet there are many models who are far younger than one might assume. In Asia, it is highly desirable to be skinny, and it is considered one of the beauty standards, especially in countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
I remember attending fashion shows in Sydney, and when you are there in person, you realise the intense expectations for models to be a certain type of thin, that it makes one think how many models are naturally skinny and how many need to strive to sustain the body shape for their career. The skinny frame often begins with the designers need to make the clothes fit well, in similarity to the way it would sit on a clothes hanger. There are behind the scenes reality of models who starve themselves, have an eating disorder, are constantly on a diet, over exercising and smoking in order to suppress their appetite.
There is a huge difference between being naturally thin and striving to attain the thin ideal. I hope there will be more body diversity within the industry, and a true care in representing healthy bodies. I think it also means that designers, clients and agencies have to gradually change their system, and focus on the health of models and accepting a diverse range of sizes, rather than a set size. Fashion has a massive influence, and there is an issue in only showing one body type. Every person is so vastly different, that these expectations of fitting a certain measurement standard can seem strange, yet it’s the reality in the modelling industry.
The fashion industry very often dictates what’s beautiful, yet these standards shouldn’t be rules to achieve. I love fashion, but it’s important to acknowledge these aspects of the industry. Advertising is powerful in communicating ideas, and a large part of the fashion industry lies in its incredibly huge amount of advertising. The models are showing a lifestyle, and it can cause many people wanting to attain this lifestyle. Your health is truly your wealth. Take care of yourself, speak words of kindness and be grateful for your body keeping you alive. There is so much beauty in this world, don’t forget that you are one of them.