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OTHER ITA SITES:
I received the following question from a young reader: Models have often been called anorexic etc. Do you think that the stress of the job encourages an eating disorder?
Well, I don't think its the stress so much as the actual requirements of the job and the expectations of the public. Also, in the absence of malnutrition or severe self-esteem issues, a self imposed diet does not automatically equate to an eating disorder.
One thing to consider: when designers make their collections, they generally only make one of each piece to show, and they make it in their "sample size" which tends to be industry standard "Size 8".
That "Size 8" used to (15 years ago) be a size 8 in the store too, but thanks to good old American professional liars, oops, I mean MARKETING, that size 8 now corresponds to approximately a rack size 4.
Now the designer, having made his collection in (what you call) a Size 4, obviously needs Size 4 models to wear it. Not size 6. Not size 8. Not (usually) Size 2. He needs Size 4 models. And a 5’10” tall Size 4 model is pretty much guaranteed to be very thin.
Sometimes the clothes turn out a little bigger than expected. No problem, the stylists will use pins, clips, even double stick tape to fix it for the Runway.
Sometimes the clothes come out too small. Now he calls one of his thin go-to girls who he uses in a pinch. Sometimes he can also switch models, using a thinner one for that look.
Is the industry as a whole discriminatory? Perhaps, but it’s not as clear cut as it seems. The industry runs on the standards, views, and opinions of thousands and thousands of people. And the designers depend on the industry wide standards to produce collections that will fit the runway models and can be shown. One designer alone can't change the size standards.
Interestingly, however, if a model is too thin, she probably won't fit the samples either. So true anorexia, as opposed to harsh self imposed diet regimens, is unproductive, and not as common as the public assumes.
Hopefully this little glimpse behind the scenes will help you better understand and interpret the fashion shows and images you see.
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Travel Part B