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Editor of UK Vogue takes a stand against designers and their too-small sample size

Alexandra Shulman has been reported by the Times to have written to leading fashion houses complaining that the sample sizes that models are required to wear don't comfortably fit the established models and that she is having to retouch the photos to make the models appear larger. She is quoted to say "I am finsing that the feedback from my readers and the general feeling in the UK is that people don't really want to see such thin girls either in editorial or advertising." She invites their views. Anybody supports Ms Shulman in taking this step and hopes that this is a step towards change. and

From The Times

June 13, 2009

Vogue editor launches new war on size-zero fashion

Article by Will Pavia

The editor of Vogue has accused some of the world’s leading catwalk designers of pushing ever thinner models into fashion magazines despite widespread public concern over “size-zero” models and rising teenage anorexia.


Alexandra Shulman, one of the most important figures in the multi-billion-pound fashion industry, has taken on all the largest fashion houses in a strongly worded letter sent to scores of designers in Europe and America. In a letter not intended for publication but seen by The Times, Shulman accuses designers of making magazines hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments for their photoshoots. Vogue is now frequently “retouching” photographs to make models look larger, she said.


Her intervention was hailed last night as a turning point in the debate over model size that has raged after the deaths of three models from complications relating to malnutrition, and the decision of leading fashion shows to ban size-zero models.


Baroness Kingsmill, who headed the 2007 Model Health Inquiry on behalf of the British Fashion Council, said the stand taken by Shulman was “an encouraging sign” from one of the industry’s “leading lights.” 

Beat, Britain’s leading eating disorder charity, says that 1.1 million people are affected by anorexia or bulimia.


Shulman claims that the clothes created by designers for catwalk shows and subsequently sent to magazines for use in their photoshoots have become “substantially smaller”.


The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in the shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or fail to cover the latest collections from the leading designers.


“We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models,” Shulman writes, in a letter sent to Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and fellow designers at Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Balen- ciaga and other top fashion houses.The supermodel Erin O’Connor described the stand by the editor of Britain’s most prominent fashion magazine as “a huge breakthrough”.


“The fact that Alexandra Shulman with her enormous influence has opened this conversation means that it will have a huge impact,” she said. “It has . . . made it compulsorily relevant that we address this now.” 



Reader Comments (5)

I never realized that designers held so much control in regards to how their clothing is presented in fashion magazines. I'm guessing that many women, especially those that work outside the fashion industry, are similarly unaware. Until now. It's about time that a respected figure within fashion is insisting designers become more accountable for their actions. Hurray!
June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Haywood
Hello ,
Im from Chile living in Argentina. I read your article in a chilian mag . Im very pleaced to read that you are making this campain , its a ery intresting thing to everyone man and women and to comprehend what we live every day at supermarket, walking on the street or washing aour teeths. I studied dance and also films. NOw im working in advertisment films. I dont have a perfect body , no for dance , no for been a model . I have a big fight every day to support myself cause i dont have it , and i have a big fight to love my self and feel pretty every day.
So more than a image thing , cause im not ugly at all , there is something stuck in my head thats always says , you re not perfect . ANd that make me feel so insecure in life , in many many aspects of it and this totally increase when i came to live to Buenos Aires . Here its something very important , been fat it a sinonimus of something really ugly and talkin about people that you see and there are not so fat and not ugly at all .
well im very happy to read this articles , i would share this website to my friends cause i know they will be very interested in reading them .
thanks and good luck!!
June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterC.
I totally support Alexandran Shulman's gesture but wonder if it will make any difference.
We as consumers need to start making a noise.
June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
lol, idealism from America bleeding into the UK? Next thing you'll be sporting DD cup blond "bombshells"... please, don't. You're too good UK.
American Model
Ladie K
June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLadie K
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