When asked the question “are skinny models really the best hangers for clothing?” I immediately think “yes.” If designers are just looking for “hangers” skinny models are the way to go. Modeling however, is much more than being a hanger. Modeling is about bringing clothes to life – so if a designer wants his or her clothes to be MODELED then no, skinny models aren’t always best in that regard.
As opposed to the supermodel era, it doesn’t take much to be a model in this day and age. Being “beautiful” or “talented” comes second to being “tall and thin.” Knowing how to walk or sell a garment the way Linda Evangelista or Naomi Campbell did isn’t much of a prerequisite anymore. Designers tend to go for models because they fit their clothes rather than fitting a brand aesthetic. Skinny should not be a brand aesthetic. It doesn’t not differentiate one brand from another if their muse is only skinny.
Unhealthy models do not bring LIFE to clothes. On the contrary, the emaciated look makes clothes look lifeless – lacking vibrance. Not only does that perpetuate unhealthy habits in models but also in those aspiring to be like the glamorous imagines they see in the media. There are ways to be healthy and thin. However thin shouldn’t always be the goal. The average woman or man does not look like the models in the magazines. I don’t think they should. Fashion is about lofty dreams and escapism – but models like Whitney Wells, Toccara Jones, and Kate Upton show that you don’t have to be stick skinny to be a working model. Those girls however still lend to a archetype – the Marylin Monroe, Busty Beauty. A seductress. What needs change is fashion’s portrayal of what is beautiful and not categorize beauty by body shape.By placing girls into “plus size” or “fiercely real” (as Tyra Banks would say) we still segregate beauty by placing one above another. Same goes for male models. Men are beefy or they are frail. They are always tall. Designers should design with those ideas in mind. Create different sizes – allow models to be different and showcase a well rounded line that allows anyone to fit into them.
Written by MA Fashion Journalism student Jehoshua Brown