Thursday, 7 June 2012

Too young. Too skinny

I read an article a while back [which can be found here] that made me think about the fashion industry and the changes coming from within. Fashion magazines, in particular, get a lot of bad press when it comes to the images they promote and the ideals they offer up as inspiration for readers all over the globe. So, it comes as interesting news to hear that Vogue editors worldwide have agreed to stop using underage and unhealthy models on their pages. 

I have said this before, but images speak louder than words. Something which is quite strange to admit, coming from a writer and someone who is passionate about words. The thing about an image is that it reaches so many more people than any amount of words could. Images are instantly eye-catching, portray a range of ideals and pervade all languages. While every Vogue publication will have different cultural associations relevant to each market they operate within, they are all seen as bible for fashion loving individuals, young and old and as such their reach is astounding. What goes on the pages of the publication influences and impacts an untold amount of people, not just through its literal presentation, but also its diffusion and interpretation. 


While the use of underage and unhealthy models is a huge discussion (one im not going to even touch the surface of now), its refreshing to see such a formidable brand like Vogue, taking a stand and showing some commitment to a new approach. In banning the use of unhealthy models, it shows that they are seeking to connect better with a wider audience and inspire women of all ages, sizes and shapes with images that are more realistic and relevant in an everyday world. 

As a fashion writing and journalism student, I spent a long time analysing and dissecting fashion publications; both the images and the words. And I know first hand how a model goes from skinny to front cover worthy thanks to the modern day wonders of photoshop. So maybe it's this experience, or maybe it is the fact that my mother fed me well and instilled an undying love of food within me, that means I take skinny models in fashion magazines with a pinch of salt. 

Seeing some clothes hanging off a bony teenage body does not make me want to hand over my credit card and it certainly doesn't make me want to cease eating. But it will have this effect on many who believe (unsurprisingly so) that these images are attainable. 

But you have to remember two things; firstly, photoshop can make anyone "perfect" and flawless and slimmer. And secondly, many models are mere children. They are teenagers, plucked in the prime of their younger years, before puberty has set in and the boobs and curves have started to appear. So in this sense, a women in her late twenties/early thirties is just that, a women; she is an adult and she is looking at children draped in ridiculously expensive designer clothes. 

A very valid point more of us would do well to keep at the front of our minds next time we're browsing the summer swimwear issues of numerous publications!

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