This month, as I do every month, I went to the corner shop to buy my bibles- women’s magazines. I love and adore fashion and magazine journalism, but I am finding myself increasingly frustrated by how the face of designer fashion is not changing fast enough.
When I see a size-zero model with sad eyes covered in couture, I see a perpetuation of the unrealistic beauty standards that have been placed on women for centuries. I don’t agree that every woman on magazine stands and adverts should be ‘plus-sized’ (and I fundamentally disagree with the term plus-sized as well, but that’s a topic for another rant), but they should show a diverse and beautiful range of different women, who reflect the diversity and beauty of the society we live in. Tall, short, thin and not so thin. All ethnicities, all genders, all people. That is what I want to see on runways and advertisements.
The recent decision by new Vogue UK editor Edward Enninful to use Adwoa Aboah on their front page demonstrates that the face of fashion is changing, but in my opinion, it is not changing fast enough. The emergence of models like Adwoa Aboah and Ashley Graham show that the people are ready for change, and no longer want to see models who fit this dangerous ‘norm’ we associate with high fashion. People can relate to these women much better than the ones who are subjugating their bodies to constant scrutiny for the sake of a career in the fashion industry.
There was a lot of negative publicity surrounding ‘size zero’ culture a few years ago. As a 6’3 size 14 woman myself, who almost faced medical interference for an eating disorder, I remember feeling more confident than I ever had that these unrealistic expectations of women were being challenged. At 21 years of age, I am disappointed that these ideals have crept back out of the woodwork, fueling poor self-esteem in a new generation of young girls.
I do not want to have a daughter one day that feels anywhere near as ‘big’ or as ugly as I did growing up. The media, speaking from experience, really is the biggest influence on a young girls self esteem, and it is high time that the fashion industry takes responsibility for this.