Fashion is awfully good at passing the buck (like just about everything else), no? British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has written a letter to fashion designers accusing them of sending miniscule samples to magazines for shoots and forcing them to hire skinny models as a result.
Hmmmmm. This line of reasoning seems a bit flawed. I admire that fact that she is actually saying something about the ridiculously thin models we see these days, but the letter (sent to designers and not meant for publication, but somehow read and reported by the Times) is only worth something if Ms Shulman actually does something about in her magazine. People read magazines and get their ideas about body image from magazines, not runway shows, and I'm a bit sceptical that magazines are at the mercy of whatever size clothing designers send them.
This reminds me of all those whatever stories about skinny models which is basically designers going on about how they love healthy girls and how they wish agencies sent them the healthy models rather than the skinny ones, and the agencies claim designers are ones sending back the "fat" models and asking for skinnier ones.
The same goes for the black/non-white models debate (if one can even call it a debate). It's everyone else's fault but their own. So much lip service.
I don't have answers but I do know that girls don't all look the same and too much of any one type is too much. I also know that it takes more than a magazine or a modelling agency or one designer to make much difference. But fashion is a business; how about a spot of deal-cutting? Like-minded editors should work closely with like-minded agencies who can take a more proactive role in sending a more diverse group of girls to designers, of whom at least one can surely be swayed. It's like getting Bono to raise funds - he calls all the cool people for favours, and suddenly everyone wants to be part of it. Making noise is about convincing the right people to get the ball rolling.
But I'm a sucker for the promise of change. I prefer to believe that finally, someone wants to make a difference. Maybe Ms Shulman will do a little more than retouch photographs to make the models look bigger. I don't think it's ever too late.
(About the photo, I'm not accusing Audrey Marnay or Paolo Roversi anything, I just wanted something that conveyed the idea of taking a good hard look in the mirror.)
Image from fotodecadent