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Leona Edminston - a half-hearted attempt at larger sizes

Text: Elise Slater, AnyBody member

Image: High street retailer Mango shows the world how larger sizes should be done with this fashion-forward campaign

Australian fashion label Leona Edminston has announced it is going to increase its largest size from a 16 to a size 24 - a move worthy of a mention as a label finally recognises that women of all sizes want to be acknowledged and embraced by the designer fashion market - which has largely shunned women of size. 

In this interview with the heads of Leona Edminston questions are raised, and brilliantly persued by the interviewer Patty Huntington as to why sizes 8-16 will continued to be sold in store, but the sizes 18-24 will only be sold via the on-line boutique - surely discrimination?

...A label interested in the profits of expanding it's range but not wanting to attract the same people into it's stores??

The management say that their research has found larger women do not enjoy the boutique shopping experience and thus would prefer to shop online.  Personally I think this is a cop out - many larger women have never before enjoyed shopping in boutiques for the fear and humiliation that comes with asking for a size which does not exist.  These women assume the store will not cater for them, and thus have been taught not to enter the fashion boutique which only caters for the slim and fashionable. 

If you are going to make the move and provide clothes for larger sizes at the same retail price these women should also be entitled to the same shopping experience and service, and who knows you may just change the face of Australian fashion, and also change the face- bring a smile to the face of - all the women who have for so long been denied the experience of walking into a shop with the confidence their body will be catered for.

for the full article click here 

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Introducing....Velvet d’Amour


The AnyBodies have just finished reading a really interesting interview with plus size model extroidinaire Velvet d’Amour who has modelled on the catwalk for Gaultier’s SS07 show, and previously forJohn Galliano and has also been photographed by Nick Knight for Paris Vogue. Here is an excert of the interview and a link where you can read some more....

 "The reality is, yes there’s more and more fat people. But you have to look at why there’s more and more fat people. And my perception is that the majority of fat people, I certainly, and speaking for myself, don’t get that way just because they feel like kicking back and weighing a couple of hundred pounds for the fun of it. They get that way because they’re striving for a beauty ideal that is incredibly inaccessible. And the more they make that beauty ideal inaccessible, the more people are going to diet. And what is the industry that is paid the most money, that has the highest failure rate? It’s the diet industry. Ninety eight percent of people who diet, gain the weight back and more. And that’s where the vicious cycle is begun. It’s not because people are saying, ‘Oh I want to celebrate my fatness’.

I’ve never said it’s, like, healthy to be fat or you should try to be fat. But I very much understand what people, and women in particular, go through to try to achieve the inaccessible. That’s why my whole goal is to diversify peoples’ notions of beauty. Not to say we should celebrate necessarily fatness. It’s to say, celebrate who we are. Because if you love yourself as a fat person, then you are far more apt to take yourself to a swimming pool. If you feel good about yourself, then you’re more apt to take care of yourself. I’m sure even people your size take issue with swimsuit season. How many articles have we seen, where… ‘OMG, it’s swimsuit season, I’ve got to go to the beach, I’ve got to lose 5 lbs’? Well imagine when you weigh 300lbs - and probably the best exercise and the only exercise you should do is to go swimming. Go take yourself to a swimming pool. I mean I’ve been called a whale at a swimming pool. I’m very confident in my body and I know that I’m not going to stop myself from getting exercise by virtue of someone putting me down. But I know that there are tonnes of women who would never go back to that swimming pool. And so if you maintain this prejudice that’s so blatant towards fat people, if the real goal is for everyone to be healthy, then certainly you’re not going to get that way by maintaining this exclusion of fat people who do exist in society."

for the full article: 


Fashion Weak, a happening by Tete de Alencar


Conceptual artist Tete de Alencar is planning an artistic happening during London's fashion week this coming September, entitled ‘Fashion Weak’. A selection of prominent women are invited to participate, to make and contribute their own photographsm and thus comment on the state of fashion today, and how it interacts with a womens body and it's impact on her sense of self.

In claustrophobic and scruffy changing rooms Tete de Alencar takes clandestine photographs of herself in dresses she can’t afford. Gaultier - 2800 euros, Donna Karen - 2495 USD, Christian Dior - £10000.

Participants will ‘invade’ London’s fashionable shops to recreate Tetes’ work in their own style. Photos will be immediate developed, printed and exhibited in selected spaces in London alongside Tete De Alencar originals.

All women visiting the exhibition will be encouraged to participate similarly. It is intended to make creative power more accessible, to encourage women to participate in artistic practice, who wouldn’t normally, and to ‘vocalize’ their experience through artistic language.

To make art from what they know

The week will culminate in an event / conference where guests will give talks, show films (including a quick cut of The Fashion Weak Documentary) and perform. An exhibition of the best of the invited work will be judged – and a prize Christian Dior dress awarded.

- above text by Ian Hammond ©

Fashion Weak - by Althea Greenan, Director and Artists of the Gold Smith Women Library

The big moment in those reality TV shows based on the idea of making over a fashion-depressed participant is the Final Mirror Moment. The camera zooms in and we watch for astonishment, gratitude, and a few tears. “Is that really me?” she gasps. You want to answer: “Of course it is! And you don’t look THAT different, just a bit of slap, a haircut and a wardrobe update. The problem is you can’t see yourself properly. Between you and the mirror lies an advertising world hell-bent on reconfiguring your self-image along with your personal aspirations to the point where you’ve stopped seeing yourself. So, here you are, re-made in the image of the latest advertising campaigns and the big difference is that you can look at your full-length reflection and see a HAPPY creation.” No wonder our eyes well up. But imagine how different that moment would be if you were armed with a camera. Girlfriends, we just don’t play those mirrors enough.

The artist Tete De Alencar goes nowhere without a disposable camera tucked in

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Thoughts, by Laurie Anderson


Making it illegal to promote extreme thinness - France takes the lead


Famous French artist Degas painted women in all of their wonderful variations

PARIS, France (AP) -- France's lower house of parliament adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone -- including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites -- to incite extreme thinness.

French lawmakers have moved to pass legislation that will make it illegal to promote extreme thinness.

The bill goes to the Senate in coming weeks, after being approved in the National Assembly.

Fashion industry experts said that, if passed, the law would be the strongest of its kind anywhere. Leaders in

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France Revisits the Skinny-Model Problem


Extremely skinny models on this seasons Autumn Winter2008/2009 catwalks - not much has changed

France is not ignoring the skinny-model problem, pas de tout. In fact, members of the French Fashion Federation, the National Union of Modeling Agencies, and the French Advertising Standards Authority got together in Paris yesterday to draw up guidelines to promote "body diversity." Basically, they intend to do something about the images of young girls who look extremely thin — as long as it doesn't involve passing any more laws. WWD reports:

According to Didier Grumbach, president of the French Fashion Federation, the charter is intended to educate the public about body image rather than impose regulations. "We will attack anything that encourages excessive weight loss, but the idea is not to create more rules," he said, adding that regarding the fashion industry, France's laws for monitoring health are already extremely protective. "Generally speaking [the charter] is a decision to be extremely careful and fight [negative body image] in any way we can, but no more legislation," he said.

Lawmakers know better. Valerie Boyer, a deputy from France's UMP party, hummed a very different tune yesterday when she called for new legislation that would impose a $50,000 fine on anyone who promotes anorexia (like pro-anorexia bloggers) and put them in prison for two years.

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Australian Fashion Week dumps 14-year-old model


A 14-year-old Polish girl has been dumped from Australian Fashion Week (AFW) after organisers bowed to public pressure to adopt a minimum age of 16 for its models.

The controversial decision to feature 14-year-old Monika Jagaciak in the major Sydney fashion event was reversed "in light of industry and community concern regarding the acceptable age for models".

"Effective immediately, both male and female models participating in Rosemount Australian Fashion Week will need to be at least 16 years of age and must be represented by a model agency," AFW said in a statement.

Monika, who was to have been flown to Sydney for the event which begins on April 28, has previously fronted a campaign for French fashion house Hermes and has been photographed in a white swimsuit being sprayed by a shower jet.

Vogue magazine added to the pressure for an age limit of 16 to be adopted, saying it would not feature Monika in its AFW coverage.

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PETA - for the etihcal treatment of animals - but what about women?


It has come to our attention of late that  while we are all for the work of animal rights activists PETA, their use of the naked female form is becoming almost  mind numbing.  It is one thing when the pun was anti-fur, but it seems now it is also necessary to go naked when protesting bullfighting, cage-farming, in fact any aminal issue.  Is it really the only way media attention can be brought to these issues?  We would like to know if you think their use of nudity is justified and seves its purpose....

One of our favourite websites, About-face, have their own opinion of the PETA adverts: 'Compassion for animals, but not for women who don't conform to the narrow definition of beauty?? '...

'No humans were physically harmed in the making of this advertisement, but many were insulted, demeaned and generally pissed off.'

And a comment from  Diane Bliss, Founder & Chair, Plus-Size Task Force:

' I was particularly appalled by the negative and demeaning words and images of women used in PETA's recent ad campaign. While I respect PETA's objectives, they can't be allowed to hide behind their non-profit, humanitarian status to absolve themselves of responsibility for these negative portrayals of women. After I sent the attached letter, I received a very dismissive phone call and a short note that conveyed the organization's view that it's a joke and you're overreacting -- get over it. As a professional stand-up comic, I know the difference between playful, harmless humor and sexist, sizist messages that demean people. The PETA campaign is mean-spirited, offensive and is the worst sort of "joke" that perpetuates negative, stereotypes about women and people of size. How can an organization campaign for the ethical treatment of animals while demeaning and insulting humans? Does this mean that the ends justify the means? Or that people are somehow less important than the animals PETA intends to help? PETA must be held accountable for this insulting ad campaign while we encourage them to broaden their mission to include the ethical treatment of all living beings, including women.'


....And then a few days later Anbody came accross this excellent article by Julie Bindel in the Guardian.....we love the quote from, that Peta promotes "animal rights at the expense of women's rights - and that's not only simplistic, but it's bad for everyone involved. If you want to draw attention to the plight of animals by humanising them, go for it. But you don't have to dehumanise women in the process."

Charities are using increasingly offensive images of women to promote their causes, such as Peta highlighting pig welfare. It's revolting, says Julie Bindel

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'Manorexia' Is on the Rise


An aspirational Mick Jagger as painted by Andy Warhol 1975/76
Experts Estimate That 1 Million Men Are Affected by Eating Disorder

Medical researchers are discovering that anorexia is not limited to women and that the idea of starving yourself in order to achieve the perfect body is crossing gender lines.

According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, the ratio of males suffering from eating disorders may be increasing. While eating disorders are most often associated with women, experts estimate that 1 million American men suffer from anorexia.

One young man who developed anorexia was Craig Laue, who wanted to change his image in high school.

After years of being called the "fat kid," he decided to take control and start

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The media pushing the muscle-bound man - but is this what women want?

MensHealth.jpg So-called lads' magazines have spawned a generation of men obsessed with their bodies, according to new research.

Publications such as Men's Health, FHM and Loaded featuring muscular and impossibly good looking men can lead to readers developing a compulsive obsession to exercise.

The symptoms of the condition - dubbed "athletica nervosa" - include spending excessive amounts of time in the gym, running or swimming.

Previously, womens' magazines have come under fire over claims that they trigger the slimming disease anorexia by using images of slim, beautiful "size zero" women.

Winchester University psychologist David Giles has found that the malady is closely linked to men reading "laddish" magazines - and aspiring to possess the perfect male physique displayed by male models with "six-pack" stomach muscles on their pages.

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Pro-anorexia site clampdown urged

pro-ana.jpg Image courtesy of Ruth Gwily, see more at her site:

Campaigners are calling for social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to clamp down on pro-anorexia sites.

Doctors at one of the country's largest eating disorders treatment centres said they needed to act more responsibly.

The eating disorders charity, B-eat, said little progress had been made on combating "pro-ana" sites.

The networking sites said it was hard to distinguish between support groups and "pro-anorexia" groups.

But a spokesperson for MySpace said they were working with organisations such as B-eat.

Over 1.1 million Britons are known to suffer from an eating disorder.

The vast majority are women, although experts believe the numbers could actually be much higher as many cases go undiagnosed.

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Fashion industry unsuportive of model health legislation

LFW.jpg Skinny ban threatens London Fashion Week

Meanwhile, a split in the fashion world over the use of skinny models could threaten the future of London Fashion Week, which was officially launched yesterday.

The premier fashion show in the British capital has already attracted controversy by banning girls under the age of 16 from taking to the catwalk.

But yesterday a move by the British Fashion Council to insist on models having health certificates to prove they are eating properly was jeopardising the event's future, with no international support for the move from the other fashion capitals.

'Spies' to dob on models with problems

It was also revealed that seven top models would act as "spies" during London Fashion Week to expose any anorexia problems, bullying or forced nudity.

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Racism is not fashionable, Naomi speaks out


Supermodel Naomi Campbell says the fashion industry is more racist than ever.

Campbell hit out at the lack of black faces on magazine covers and catwalks.

She told The London Paper: "Women of colour are not a trend. That's the bottom line. It's a pity that people don't always appreciate black beauty. In some instances, black models are being sidelined by major modelling agencies."

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TESCO now selling body hatred

TESCOarenuts.jpg wow, we're lost for words, we already had ethical issues with Tesco, but inciting body hatred amongst 3 month olds must be an all-time low...ok so there might be the nappy pun and all...but putting your baby girl in a pink tee with a body conscious message at three months, the path is already set. I guess at least the tee doesn't have padded breasts in it...yet!


Blame it on Size Zero

Image C. Elise Slater
Ottawa Citizen, Friday, October 26, 2007
By Anybody member, Ben Barry

Montreal Fashion Week 2007 made headlines around the globe last week. It wasn't trendsetting creations generating the fashion frenzy. The buzz was all about Montreal's leadership as the first Fashion Week in North America to impose a minimum weight and age limit on models.

Designers were warned that any models under 16 years old and with an unhealthy body mass index would be removed from the runways and redirected to medical professionals.

Montreal's move follows similar efforts in Madrid, Milan, and London this past year, instigated by public outcry after four models died from malnutrition.

Progressive, you might think. But I have to ask: Does regulating models actually create a healthier fashion industry?

Not if you ask me, and I'm a renegade modelling agent: I represent models of all ages, sizes, colours and abilities. Sure, imposing new size limits will keep models from dying on the catwalk. But it also blames the models for being too thin when, in fact, it is not their fault; it is the designers who invented size zero and perpetuate it as the standard.

So, I say, hold designers responsible.

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Anorexia is not a necessary part of growing up


AnyBody member Elise Slater's diary excerpt; written while stuck in a hotel room in Rome with only a copy of Marie-Claire as entertainment.  Please excuse the profanities; sometimes there aren’t words strong enough to describe the fashion industry.

...I put down the copy of Marie-Claire and find myself in utter dismay that while I have grown up women’s magazines haven’t. They are still regurgitating the same body fascist, mind numbing & even more worrying; mind-fucking garbage that provided me with enough fuel to develop anorexia in my teens.  So horrifying, the possibility of a girl being able to grow up in modern days into a well-adjusted confident woman seems a slim impossibility.

And that Marie-Claire is supposed to be a thinking woman’s magazine!!! It makes it all the more distressing. Is weight all the thinking woman thinks about these days? I hate to imagine what is in the trashier women’s magazines; my imagination cannot stretch that far.

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Size matters - Milan takes action through bilboards

Yes, the pictures of Isabelle Caro are shocking, but since our visual culture encourages body hatred, it's time to respond to that in a visual medium.
nolita_anorexia.jpg Article by AnyBody member Susie Orbach
The Guardian September 27, 2007

I am surprised to read that colleagues working with girls and women with eating and body difficulties have responded negatively to the pictures of Isabelle Caro, the 27-year-old actress who weighs just 31 kilograms, displayed on billboards across Italy.

The startling and disturbing images are part of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of going on hunger strike. She's been on one since she was 12. The campaign, shot by Oliviero Toscani who has shocked the world before with his provocative campaigns for Benetton, is supported by the fashion industry in Italy and has been mounted to coincide with Milan fashion week. The industry has become worried, and for good reason, that they are inadvertently promoting body hatred in girls and women.

My colleagues are concerned that the Toscani pictures will be aspirational. They are certainly correct that visual culture is reconstructing our relationship to the body. We can't but help look at ourselves from the outside to see whether our bodies sufficiently reflect an acceptable version of the 5,000 digitally enhanced images that are beamed at us per week. This is particularly the case for girls and young women and my colleagues worry that girls, perhaps those who are already hooked into the proAna sites will chase the elusive dream to fit in through acquiring a diminished body.

If visual culture can invoke a feeling that we need to be thin, perhaps the pictures of Isabelle Caro will become glamorised in such a way that they invite us to mimic her. It's possible but I doubt it. I think we are not yet inured to the horror they portray. We can still see them. It takes more than one or two images to change our visual landscape and I think they will become a rallying point for campaigners against the body hatred which eats into so many of our children's childhoods, adolescence and young adulthood.

We need to address the problem visually because it has in large part created visually. Yes, eating problems start in the home, sometimes unwittingly passed on by mums and siblings who have body anxieties of their own which in turn owe much to the ubiquity of art-directed visual culture. Yes, anorexia and the starvation that goes with it have to be addressed emotionally and sometimes medically, but if we fail to challenge worship of just one body type, we will miss an important dimension to transform the problem.

Bodies today are rarely where we live from. They become our production. Our personal statement about who we are. We work on them. We spend a fortune on them. We decorate, transform and manipulate them. Cosmetic surgery is worth $14bn this year, and expected to increase by a $1bn for next. The number of girls and women (and increasingly men) who suffer with severe eating and body difficulties, sometimes obvious like bulimia and obesity, sometimes hidden in bulimia or binge eating, is rising and reaching into earlier and earlier age groups.

We do need to campaign. And at the visual level - which is where this campaign is located. Shocking images are one way, pictures of women of different sizes, as in the Dove campaign, and the deconstructing of the beauty industry through videos are others. We need the best our art directors can do to democratise our visual field so that all of our beauty and variety is included. We need to face the public health emergency that is body hatred (in all its manifestations from obesity to anorexia) and transform the role of visual culture so that it becomes part of the solution and not the problem.


Has fashion got its house in order?

fashioninquiryleaflet.jpg beat inquiry - Saturday 6th October 2007

We want to hear your views, opinions and recieve any evidence you have on this important topic.

The British fashion council's inquiry has looked into the health of models, and it recommendations have now been published.

We want to know what people think about the influence that the fashion industry has on society as a whole.

We know that fashion doesn't directly cause eating disorders. At its best, fashion is fun and it's creative...but something's got to change.

AnyBody member Elise Slater will be speaking at the event.

We have 100 tickets available but if you are unable to attend we would still like to hear from you.

Please e-mail your views, opinions and evidence to


*** Exploiting Women? Help us create a case against Weight Watchers

weight watchers mags.jpg
One of AnyBody’s goals is to bring a case against Weight Watchers as one example of where the diet industry knowingly exploits the aesthetic ideal of slenderness. It has plenty of evidence that dieting does not help people maintain weight loss.

A recent contributor to; Sue Thomason, wrote a very insightful piece in response to AnyBody's ongoing case against the ethics of Weight Watchers. We thought you should all read it on our front page, and if you have personal experiences of the Weight Watchers program, please help us by leaving a comment.

From Sue Thomason:

The diet industry marketeers know full well that restriction leads the human subconscious survival instinct to activate, which drives people to overeat. The subconscious survival instinct does not know that food is available, it takes messages from the conscious mind that food is restricted, so it sees danger and it FORCES you to eat as much as you can in order to survive the famine.

The diet marketeers know that restriction of food allows you to take control only for short periods of time before this survival instinct kicks in. They perpetuate the message that the only way to lose weight is to follow their restriction regimes, and they set their customers up for failure and those customers, who see no way out, keep on going back to them and giving them more money, fuelled on by their short term success, which they see as evidence that diets work.

The reality is that they don't work and that they CAUSE overeating in the first place. Diet companies, such as Weight Watchers, CREATE overeaters.

With its ever growing profits and it's 98 per cent long-term failure rate, The diet industry is the most successful failed business in the world.

The universally accepted diet information, be it under the label of 'healthy eating' or 'cutting down', is creating the so-called 'obesity epidemic' that is now the second biggest killer next to

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Orbach petitions to ban zero size models from fashion week

skinny.jpg Image: Models at this September's fashion weeks in New York and London, showing that not much has changed regardless of the 'Model Health Inquiry' in London.

Feminist psychotherapist leads new onslaught
By Judith Duffy, Health Correspondent, October 1, 2007

A PIONEERING psychotherapist has launched a petition urging the fashion industry to bring more "body diversity" to catwalks amid the continuing row over size zero models.

Professor Susie Orbach, author of the seminal 1970s book Fat Is A Feminist Issue, is calling on designers to acknowledge that the continued use of "dangerously underweight" models is having a "devastating" effect, resulting in body hatred among women and girls. Campaigners are being urged to sign the online petition, which will be presented this week to the organisers of London Fashion Week. Supporters in other parts of the world are now also taking up the idea.

The move comes in the wake of criticism of the British Fashion Council (BFC) for failing to ban size zero models from the catwalks at London Fashion Week, which ended last Thursday, despite such a stance being taken by fashion houses in Milan and Madrid.
The issue of ultra-thin models was highlighted again last week with the death from suspected malnutrition of Uruguayan model, Eliana Ramos. The 18-year-old was the sister of Luisel Ramos, whose death last year at the age of 22 from heart failure during a catwalk show triggered the furore over size zero.

Orbach, who treated the late Princess Diana for eating disorders,told the Sunday Herald that the idea was to challenge the fashion industry to improve the situation.
"It is not really a question of attacking the fashion industry per se, it is more about what they can do that will add more spark and do it in a really interesting way to fashion," she said. "There is this kind of crazy economics - most people aren't size zero, so what on earth are we doing promoting clothes and selling them in sizes that people don't exist in?"

The petition, organised through AnyBody, a campaign for the acceptance of body diversity set up by Orbach, calls for a ban on the use of models under 16 years old or with a body mass index (BMI) under 18 in London Fashion Week. Orbach said the idea of the petition was now being taken up by campaigners in other cities, including Toronto.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Beat,formerly the Eating Disorders Association, pointed out that as well as potential health risks to the models themselves, the use of extremely thin people on the catwalks sent out mixed messages to those suffering from problems such as anorexia.

"We spoke to some young people recently who had an eating disorder and asked them what effect they thought the media had on them," she said.

"One person asked me how come it is OK for these people to be very skinny and celebrated on the front of all the magazines, but I'm told it is dangerously unhealthy and I have to go to hospital?

"That is a very difficult contradiction to explain to a 13 or 14-year-old."

Ringwood said Beat has offered expertise to a healthy models taskforce which has been set up by the BFC and London Development Agency (LDA), including training on how to understand the signs of eating disorders. Last week the organisation attended London Fashion Week to distribute leaflets on the risks of dieting.

Fatima Parker, president of the UK branch of the International Size Acceptance Association, welcomed Orbach's petition. She said: "The fashion industry should take into consideration that we come in all shapes and sizes."

Nobody was available for comment at the BFC or LDA.

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