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Friday
Jan262007

Breaking the Fashion Model Mould

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The below article was written for AnyBody by Ben Barry, who started his own modelling agency at the tender age of 14, now 23 Ben has grown his agency to emcompass women all all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages.  His agency negates the fashion industry's excuse that they can't find larger models.  Here is Ben's point of view on the whole sample size 0 debate... 

Stripping the Sample Size Down to Size

By Ben Barry

This coming Sunday, hundreds of tall, thin, young, able-bodied, and primarily white woman will strut London’s catwalk for a bevy of fashion elite. Outside the canvas tents, you and I will watch in astonishment, wondering ‘how could I ever fit into these clothes.’ Indeed, high end fashions are specifically made in a sample size zero.

Yet a stroll into the high street shops reveals a very different picture. The same size zero skirts and jumpers seen on the catwalks, shockingly, are found in larger sizes: 2, 6, 10, 14, and even, oh yes, 16. The designers – or rather their business backers – realize that fashion wouldn’t exist as a business if it only sold size zero. Consumers just come in much more diversity than the little sample size, and this diversity spans age and colour and ability too.

I am perplexed by the situation; if the catwalk clothes are sold in all sizes, why is it that only one size is shown in fashion weeks?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan262007

'The sickening conspiracy that is the fashion industry'

by LIZ JONES - 26th January 2007, The Daily Mail

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The row over size zero models rages on

Really, it beggars belief, doesn't it?

Reading the press release issued by the British Fashion Council yesterday was like looking at the price tag on a pair of Prada shoes.

You think: "No, surely not, that can't be right -that is absolutely bonkers!"

Because this unelected but hugely influential body has come to the decision that it will not bring in any move to ban very skinny models from being hired for London Fashion Week next month.

"We believe that regulation is neither desirable nor enforceable," is about the sum of it.

You may think: "What do I care, I don't shop on Bond Street." But if you have a teenage daughter, you should be very, very concerned by what I am telling you.

The press release then became even more lily-livered when it announced that, far from bringing in a ruling banning girls under 16 (believe me, I talked to many models last season during LFW who were 14 and 15), it would merely "recommend that only models aged 16 or over are used".

You may not think the ruling constitutes a death sentence, but I would argue that this document is the equivalent of giving the models crystal meth, ashtrays, syringes and unlimited quantities of champagne.

The British fashion industry is, yet again, burying its Botoxed head in the sand, putting big business before the health of all young women in this country.

First, I want to know why London is digging its Jimmy Choos in when New York and Madrid have both decided to bring in guidelines for their fashion weeks.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan262007

Debate : Should 'Underweight' Models be Banned?

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Image: Size 12-24 Models on the S/S 2007 Milan Catwalk from Designer Elena Miro

• Should Fashion Parades Include Women of a Variety of Sizes? (and sizes above a size 0)

• Would You Like to See More Average Sized Models Used in Fashion and Media Campaigns?

• Does Fashion's Obsession with Skinny Models Affect How you Feel About your Own Body? Does it Affect Your Actions?

• Do You Think Model Size Should Be Regulated?

Take part in the debate and leave your comments here...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan252007

Women's Magazines are Dangerous

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'It is commonly remarked about our own time that never before in history has the promise of happiness been so great and the reality so dissapointing. Fuelled by consumerism and the power of advertising and the media, we are encouraged to think that happiness is within our grasp...Women's magazines promise happiness in the form of a cellulite-free body, great clothes and fantastic sex, all within one month.

And yet, of course these images are aspirational. If they reflected reality they would have no appeal. Who would buy these magazines if they already had great bodies, great sex and all the consumer goods they wanted? It is obvious that the lives of real people fall short of these ideals set before us. The disparity between reality and what we aspire to cannot help us feel happier, since it only serves to emphasise what is not perfect about our lives, what we don't have as opposed to what we do. 

This is why the psychologist Oliver James has suggested in all seriousness that we need to severely curb the power and extent of advertising. These pages are literally damaging our mental health.' 

Source: What's it all About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life, Julian Baggini 

Thursday
Jan252007

INACTIVE LONDON: Zero action on size zero

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Fashion Week today failed to ban size zero models from the catwalk.
The British Fashion Council, which owns and runs the annual show, has stopped short of demanding that designers do not use extremely thin models.


Instead it has agreed to set up a taskforce to draw up a voluntary code of practice.
Experts in eating disorders said they were disappointed that tougher measures had not been adopted.
It means London will not follow Madrid and New York in taking a firm stance on the use of underweight models amid fears that they are dangerous role models for young girls.

The fashion council appealed to designers and model agencies to use "healthy" models to show their collections in London next month but did not stipulate what that is.

It follows a meeting between fashion council chairman Stuart Rose and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. Ms Jowell agreed that regulation was not the way forward. She has backed down from her former hardline stance against the use of thin models and is happy to let the industry set its own guidelines.

Doctors, eating disorder organisations and MPs had called for a ban on the use of models with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18 which is officially recognised as being under a healthy weight.

The fashion industry has been criticised for using models who are an American size zero, a UK size four, which doctors say most adult women cannot achieve without endangering their health.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan242007

FASHION BREAKTHROUGH: New sizing and beauty canon introduced

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Spanish fashion houses agree anti-anorexia 'charter'

MADRID (AFP) - Leading Spanish fashion houses including Inditex and flagship brand Zara agreed an unprecedented move to draw up a beauty "canon" including harmonising dress sizes after a recent storm over the number of young women suffering from anorexia.

The 12-point package of measures, or beauty "charter" -- drawn up with the health ministry -- includes a stipulation that shop windows display sizes of 38 minimum (size 10 in Britain, eight in the United States) and that size-46 apparel be placed in easy view in stores under the generic label "large sizes."

In a joint statement the couturiers said they intended to harmonise sizes in a bid to reduce the possibility of "consumer error" with sizes currently not in sync from one firm to the next.

Aside from Zara, other signatories included Cortefiel, Mango and chain store Corte Ingles as the Spanish firms, most of whom also sell their wares abroad, are reacting to concerns that anorexia is on the rise and that models are "excessively thin."

The charter, whose measures will be progressively introduced, aims to mark a break with showcasing models of beauty which are "impossible to reach for most people" and "can contribute to serious health disorders," such as anorexia, a health ministry statement said.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan232007

Boycott ASDA Fashion Ranges

Asda condemned over plans for a new size zero fashion range

By SEAN POULTER, The Daily Mail,  3rd February 2007

The Asda fashion label 'George' has triggered outrage with a decision to stock size zero clothes for women and teenage girls.

The move flies in the face of warnings from the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, and doctors that the promotion of such tiny sizes is linked to eating disorders such as anorexia.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan152007

Regression in fashion: A child or a woman?

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Image: Chloe Collection S/S 2007 

In the passionate debate about too- thin models, no one has really reached the nub of the matter: Why would grown women yearn to resemble pre-pubescent girls? Yet one of the Olsen twins boasted from her front- row perch at the Dior show this week that she was wearing a child's jacket; and the streets of Western capitals are filled with women well past middle age squeezed into drain-pipe jeans.

 
The answer lies not with fashion designers, whose vision only mirrors the complexities of their times, but with a psychoanalyst who has to decode the reasons for this strange desire to eliminate a natural womanly shape, to the point that the greatest compliment paid to the young mother Katie Holmes was editors cooing that she had got her figure back.
 
The recent success of Chloé, when it had a young woman designer, Phoebe Philo (who left a year ago for motherhood), was both to play with pregnant volumes and to capture a world of innocence in which a woman seemed to get in touch with her "inner child."
 
Since this was played out at a time when "girly' looks, pulsating with in- your-face sexuality, was the leading fashion culture, Chloé acted as a fashion counterpoint.
 
But Chloé's regression into infancy this season was a step too far into the thick-heeled version of Mary Jane shoes. (They are, of course, footwear that no self-respecting kid wears in a world of sneakers).
 

The program notes cited the American heiress Gloria Vanderbilt as a primary influence, but then specifically stated that the show was "inspired by childhood." Hence, there were pants suspended from a high waist below a flat chest that seemed grotesque for a grown woman, while a jumper dress over a blouse with billowing sleeves was charming.

By Suzy Menkes International Herald Tribune

Published: October 8, 2006

 

Saturday
Jan132007

Italian designers agree that bigger may be better

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'Italian designers agree that bigger may be better Fashion industry will fight extreme thinness'

By Peter Kiefer, Article from The International Herald Tribune, 22 Dec 2006

ROME: The Italian fashion industry pledged Friday to fight the health and image problems of extreme thinness among models by signing a code calling for more robust body imagery at fashion shows and ad campaigns.

Industry officials admitted that they agreed to the self-regulation so that they are not held responsible for the precarious health of models, and legions of fashion fans.

The code was pushed and co-signed by Giovanna Melandri, who is Italy's youth policy and sports minister and one of the more fashionable of Italian ministers. Industry members agreed to rethink what constitutes beauty in women, to include larger sizes in new collections, to enforce stricter health standards on models and to turn away models under the age of 16.

Models who want to work at Italy's most prestigious fashion shows will have to provide a medical certificate, along with proof of age, according to the code. But regulation is voluntary and without direct enforcement.

Stefano Dominella, president of a lobby for Rome haute couture houses, conceded that no one risked "going to jail" for

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec112006

Prada joins Versace to ban size zero models

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Fashion labels Prada, Versace and Armani have agreed to ban stick-thin women from their catwalks, prompted by the death of two models.

The Italian couture houses have united with their government to agree new rules due to come into force before Milan's fashion week in February.

Milan stands alongside Paris and New York as one of the world's most important fashion events. Like the other two it has, until now, resisted demands to stamp out the waif look.

But Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, which represents the country's top labels, changed stance after Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died last month of an illness caused by anorexia. Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos died of heart failure in August.

Ms Reston, 21, was 1.72m (5ft 8in) and weighed just over 38kg (6st) at her death after sticking to a diet of just tomatoes and apples.

A January deadline has been imposed so the new rules are agreed in time for Milan's fashion week. Italian youth minister Giovanna Melandri urged the fashion industry to comply with the changes.

She said: 'The Camera della Moda will take action against designers who do not respect the manifesto. They could be removed from the fashion calendar or, in the most serious cases, banned from the fashion week.'

Flaminia Spadone, an aide to Ms Melandri, said: 'In the Third World, if someone has an index of less than 18.5 they send in humanitarian aid.'

The change is part of a growing international movement to deal with ultra-thin models and the influence they have on girls and young women.

Madrid's fashion week banned models with a BMI below 18 after the death of Ms Ramos, and Brazil and Argentina have joined the campaign. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer have BMIs below 18.

 

Monday
Nov272006

Petition to Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London

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Magritte - Philosophy in the boudoir (fashion and the body's influence on one another)

AnyBody has sent the below letter to Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, following his statement that he will withdraw London Fashion Week funding if they continue to use underweight models. AnyBody has suggested an alternative positive initiative for the funding and local fashion designers.  Sign or comment below; the response will be passed on to Ken, and we will keep you updated....

October 16th, 2006

Dear Ken,

What a great thing you have done by withdrawing financial support from London Fashion Week unless they diversify their models.

The UK style industries contribute fabulously to the economy of London and the country and yet often, inadvertently, disastrously to girls and women’s feelings about their bodies and their self worth. I have the research to prove it.

For many years through various different organisations and agitations, I have been working to represent girls and women’s bodies in greater variety: by size, ethnicity and age. 

Through an activist group AnyBody www.any-body.org, I, with others, have been trying to raise money and awareness with fashion design schools to change the practice of only cutting final year shows for models whose size represents only a few very women. Members of AnyBody who trained at Fashion schools here talk of their struggles to produce clothing on mannequins that were larger than size 8. They failed.

What about putting that £620,000 towards a fund for innovative fashion designers to create clothing that is inclusive without any sacrifice to dynamic designs? We know they can do it. They just haven’t been given the support.

Putting together these various challenges with support from the Mayor’s office both monetarily and politically could be just the tipping point that is needed to challenge the scourge of those who breed body insecurity (for profit).

The Government’s Body Image Summit in 1999 of which I was a Keynote Speaker, was followed by retreat from the Government of the very issues they knew were essential to raise. It has taken another 7 years to raise public consciousness sufficiently. Can you help out by going a step further or two so we can challenge the theft of our children’s childhoods and the horror of troubled eating and self image that so besets hundreds of thousands of women and young women in London.

Could we have a brief meeting to talk about this?

Susie Orbach 

Thursday
Oct122006

Is it Responsible to Use Underweight Models? ...A letter to the Fashion Industry

ck ad.jpg TO THE FASION INDUSTRY AS REPRESENTED BY THE BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL
_
_The following is a letter to the fashion industry by Janet Treasure and EDRU Team in response to fashion's insistent use of underweight models, and the Madrid Catwalk's ban on using Underweight girls. It is a call to the fashion industry to realise their impact on women's psychological state, and to thus act responsibly.__

Eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are common disorders found in nearly 10% of young women. There is a large range in clinical severity. Some cases are mild and transient. However in the clinic we see the dark side whereby the quality of life of the individual and her family shrivels away and the shadow of death looms. These disorders have the highest risk of physical and psychosocial morbidity than any other psychological condition. The costs for the individual, the family and society are huge. Therefore research has focused on trying to prevent these disorders and to identify the factors that cause or maintain them.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep042006

My Card : My Life : Your Comments

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The American Express Red Campaign 'My Card, My LIfe', may have a noble aim; to donate 1% of all Red-card spendings to AIDS elimination in Africa, but the print campaign, showing Supermodel Gisele (her card) posing next to an African Masai Warrior (his life) is controversial to say the least.  Here we welcome your comments, whether positive or negative...(For Gisele and Keseme's comments:  www.americanexpressred.co.uk)

Mark from the thought-provoking, essential reading website K-punk has donated his own critical analysis of the AMEX ad to us here at AnyBody, have a read and reply below...

The current American Express Red campaign cries out for the kind of intricate semiotic dissection Roland Barthes pioneered in Mythologies.  The ad – which shows happy, smiling supermodel Gisele embracing happy, smiling African Maasai warrior, Keseme – is a succinct emblem of the current ruling ideology.

The image, with its evocation of ideas of Culture and Nature, Consumerism and Debt, independence and dependence – fairly drips with polysemic resonances. There is enough here to keep semiologists busy for years.

But the central opposition – ‘My Card’ versus ‘My Life’ – says more than it intends

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug232006

Diverse Female Beauty from Dove

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What do you think of the Dove Real Beauty campaign?

Would you like to see more diverse images of feminine beauty? Does it make you feel more confident about your own beauty?

For a positive video experience exposing the follies of the media world click on this icon:

Sunday
Aug132006

Mum, Please can I have some Botox?

Article by Stephen Hull, from The Metro, London

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GONE are the days when girls begged their parents for a pony. Today's youngsters are more likely to ask for some plastic surgery. One in ten girls in their early teens has argued with their parents over wanting cosmetic surgery, new research claims.

Others fall out over wanting to look like ultra-thin celebrities - a trend dubbed 'thinspiration' because of skinny role models such as Posh Spice and Lindsay Lohan.

The Dove survey - of 1,000 girls aged from 12 to 14 and 1,000 mothers of girls that age - revealed young teens are already worried about their body shape.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr192006

SIZEISM


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Are you a sizeist?

Have you ever caught yourself looking at someone’s body and thinking, ‘that just won’t do?’ Have your eyes been so conditioned by what you are told is beautiful and acceptable that you only appreciate what you recognize? Have you ever noticed that after having spent even just a few minutes flipping through a fashion magazine your eyes are more judgmental and critical when they next glance upon a mirror?

Let’s face it, there’s a new form of discrimination around, ‘SIZEISM’ and the majority of us have got it…BAD.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr102006

Grazia Body Image Statistics

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Grazia questioned 5,000 women in over 20 Cities through the United Kingdom.

The results to follow show the extent of the 'body hatred' epidemic amongst

women, an infection that needs to be stopped to free ourselves and the next generation.

 BODY STATS:

* The survey shows the average British woman worries about the size and
shape of her body EVERY 15 MINUTES - more than men think about sex (every 20
minutes).

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb192006

Calories Are Not Immoral


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For most people the problem is not their size but the torment of fat weighing on their minds

Susie Orbach reports in The Guardian, Friday March 10, 2006

Poor old Waitrose. The supermarket really must think it is doing right by its consumers, helping them to discern the good, the bad and the ugly sandwich. After consultations with its customers, and following well-meaning but idiotic recommendations from the Food Standards Agency, traffic light signposting will be affixed to Waitrose's sandwiches from Monday enabling us speedily to identify which sandwiches are low in fats, saturates, sugars, salts and calories.

Sensible, right? Well perhaps at first glance. But not at second or third.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb082006

Has Feminism Failed to Free us of the Beauty Myth?

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In a survey released last week by tescodiets.com, 19 out of 20 British women say they would prefer a smaller waist than a genius-level IQ.  The wish list of the average British women (in order) was a slimmer figure, bigger bank balance followed by dinner with an A-list star of her choice, with increased intelligence being way down the list.  This all raises the question, has feminism freed us from anxiety over appearance, as it was once supposed it would? 

 As we sit watching UK Celebrity Big Brother, in which most of the women chosen has very low IQ's, but were all busty, and knew how to flirt their way to the top, have we decided to give up on brains and return to the beauty game? 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb062006

Older models are the 'newest' fashion trend

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Twiggy, second from left, featured in the Marks and Spencer campaign last September at age 57, and had a positive imact on the company's profits.

It seems that models previously deemed 'too old' for the fickle industry of fashion photography are the new hot item, with demand for middle-aged models far outstripping supply.  The demand for mature models has increased 30-40% over the last three years and is continuing to rise.  One of the first campaigns notable for it's use of older models was Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign, using 95-year-old Irene Sinclair and asking the question 'Wrinkled or Wonderful?'.  The campaign also featured 45-year-old Merlin Glozier with the accompanying question 'Grey or Gorgeous?'.

Couture fashion houses are also starting to recognise maturity in women as something to be celebrated. With 48-year-old Sharon Stone being unveiled as the new face of Christian Dior, Prada using 52-year-old Kim Basinger to promote her miu miu label, and Versace using Madonna,47, in their campaign last year.

Elaine Dugas, a director at London's Models 1, says the resurgence of mature models is because

Click to read more ...

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