Of fat 120-pound models and lousy designers
It seems like the whole skinny versus healthy model debate is never going to end. Right when people are starting to think that curvy, ageless, and healthy have little by little been gaining its presence on the catwalk – what with all the “non-traditional” models booked for the A/W shows during the previous Fashion Weeks and Anna Wintour’s support – we get someone from the outback telling a girl who weighs 120 pounds to lose weight.
I have had it with people in the industry who say “tall and slim is what works” and “clothes always look better on skinny people.” Tall and slim work because that’s what everyone’s been programmed to think.
Crazy clothes and emaciated 15-year-old junkies have been the formula for God knows how long, and so people believe that’s the only way things can be done. That, plus the fact that man is afraid of change even though it’s the only constant in a dynamic universe, makes it all the more challenging to convince people that healthy is better.
And can I just say to whoever designer says clothes fall better on tall and skinny people, you’re just not good enough to make a curvy, healthy person look good in your size zero contraptions – not that there’s any chance in the world anyone with a BMI of 18.5 could fit in them anyway. Going for skinny models is the easy way of doing things. If everything you make looks good only on stick-thin humanoids, you should probably consider a career shift.
It’s a designer’s job, not only to create beautiful clothes, but also to make someone look better in them. If you can’t make an average person look better with your $7,000 designs than with what they’re getting from the apparel section at Carrefour (or Karama for Dubai recessionistas), then you’re a useless designer. You should be ashamed of yourself, if you ask me.
Designers won’t stop mumbling about how fashion is art, but I have yet to see a painter refuse to sell his artwork to a person because they’re fat (or whatever kind of person an artist is not inclined to favour) and it won’t look good with them owning it.
UAE-based designer Aiisha Ramadan underlines the important role fashion insiders play in moulding the concept of beauty and health in today’s society. “As a pretty rounded woman myself, and having passed through the agony of never reaching size zero, I highly stress that we – designers and fashionistas - are responsible for the young girls’ perspective of themselves. We really can make a difference by being more realistic on the catwalk and in the glossies,” she commented.
Industry insiders should stop making people think they’re not good enough to consume fashion. When people have issues with their self-esteem, they turn to fashion to make themselves feel better. Can you imagine how you would feel if the only thing you relied on to overcome whatever doubts you had about yourself told you to scram and lose weight before you could come crying for help? It’s like delivering the final blow to a dying doe-eyed thing. It’s sad. And evil.
Editor’s note: I am not fat. And no, I am not in denial.