Is Fashion Month more about those who attend than the fashion?

The recent appearances of celebrities during Fashion Month appeared to be reported more than the fashion labels and models themselves.

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Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Paula Patton, Amber Heard and Jessica Alba at Michael Kors (Business Insider Australia 2012).

Fashion Month is highly prestigious, alluring and attracts people from all over the world. A broad range of celebrities from all disciplines like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Dakota Fanning, Sarah Jessica Parker, Parker Posey, Miley Cyrus, Whoopie Goldberg and Martha Stewart as well as many more attend designers’ shows. As seen above, the stars come dressed in their best, draped in jewellery. They select flattering and bold choices in hair, make-up, dress, shoes and accessories. Keeping up with the fashion trends in their own styling choices, the celebrities emit that glowing and confident aura (Business Insider Australia 2012).

Some celebrities are contracted to attend, other stars are graciously offered a Paris holiday and some are paid thousands of dollars to appear front row as reported here (Business Insider Australia 2012).

However, should we as followers of the contemporary fashion world be calling for a greater focus on the designers and models themselves? Or is there more to the celebrity appearances than simply ‘rocking up’?

Elizabeth Wilson, author on the subject offers great insight and presents fresh perspectives regarding celebrity glamour.

Yet glamour is not about consumption in the consumer society, although the word has come to be continually misused to suggest that it is. Nor is it simply about luxury. The sociologist Georg Simmel saw how fashionable dressing sought to extend the ‘force field’ of the individual’s personal aura, making it wider and more striking; fashion as an adjunct to power (Simmel 1971). Dress did not simply indicate power in the obvious sense of a uniform; nor was it about mere wealth. More subtly, it brought the combination of person and clothing to a pitch at which that person created glamour by means of daring departures from the conventionally well dressed, combined with an aura of defiance (Wilson 2007, 98).

Wilson drew on the authoritative support of sociologist Georg Simmel, concluding that glamour in fashion inspires people to be more daring in their approaches in how they dress and how they present their identity.

It’s great when anyone (celebrities included) take an interest in high fashion. However, it raises questions when these celebrities are being paid to attend shows. Are designers paying celebrities to attend their shows because they are afraid of underwhelming the audience or that their shows aren’t exciting enough to attract the average person without them? Perhaps that’s what Fashion Month is about? Rather than celebrating, critiquing and embracing new and different brands in high fashion, Fashion Month is using celebrity appearances to merely advertise the labels, boosting cultural capital and appealing to consumers’ desires to be as glamorous as the celebrities.

That may be the case for individual brands, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it’s a win-win situation; brands get their names out, celebrities score easy paychecks and the viewer feels empowered from seeing those they admire exuberayting confidence. Despite the hundred-thousand dollar deals, the appearance of celebrities at major global events such as Fashion Month is boosting confidence and self esteem in viewers, encouraging people to be bold in how they express themselves and ‘strut their stuff.’

Written by Sarah Channer.

 

References

Business Insider Australia. 2012. Here Are The Crazy Paychecks Celebs Get To Attend Fashion Shows. Updated 29 September. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-are-the-crazy-paychecks-celebs-get-to-attend-fashion-shows-2012-9?r=US&IR=T.

Wilson, Elizabeth. 2007. A Note On Glamour. London: Routledge.

 

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Yo Model’s so fat, she inspires healthy self esteem (oh, snap).

Recently, popular Instagram account, hfconfess posted an anonymous confession submitted to their account, regarding how obesity fits in high fashion.

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     High Fashion Anonymous Confession (Instagram 2016).

The post illustrated a monochrome high fashion image of a plus-size (not obese) model, in a black one-piece swim suit with overlapping text that questions if obesity in luxury fashion is inspiring an unhealthy image.

Plus-size doesn’t mean someone is overweight and being overweight isn’t the same as being obese. Plus-size in high fashion is sizes 8 and over. In ready-wear it is sizes 14 and over, despite 14 being the average size of women. Sizes of clothing are set to certain measurements. This means if you are fit and healthy but have wider shoulders for example, you would more likely wear a garment in a larger size to accommodate your body structure (Beck 2014). A larger size or greater weight doesn’t necessarily mean more fat cells. Muscle is denser than fat and the number on the scale is not always correlated with fat (Sukala 2016). Plus-size clothing caters to people with larger frames than what is considered a ‘normal’ frame .

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Plus-size model: Ashley Graham (Vogue 2016).

Plus-size fashion and models are more representative of the buyer and are no more unhealthy than other models. When it comes to lifestyle diseases, ‘skinny’ people are also susceptible to Type II Diabetes for example. Type II Diabetes is caused by high sugar intake. High sugar intake may prevent someone from producing glucose, regardless of how fast it is burned. Therefore, anyone of any size/metabolic rate can develop Type II Diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases (DiabetesQueensland 2016).

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Obese model: Tess Holliday (Vogue 2015).

The above image of obese model Tess Holliday projects her as sexy, fun and confident as she sports a colourful bikini and black stilettos.

Obesity traditionally has been defined as a weight at least 20% above the weight corresponding to the lowest death rate for individuals of a specific height, gender, and age (ideal weight). Twenty to forty percent over ideal weight is considered mildly obese; 40-100% over ideal weight is considered moderately obese; and 100% over ideal weight is considered severely, or morbidly, obese (Medical-Dictionary 2016).”

Obese people deserve representation and inspiration just like any other subculture. There is a call for democratic fashion, ‘where every day people in the urban environment absorb the rarefied vision of the designer or stylist in interpretations of fashion that are framed by the quotidian (Berry 2011, 1).’ To dismiss a sector of society from an industry based on physical attributes is discrimination. Some argue obese models promote being unhealthy but it is important to remember many weight gain cases are directly linked with anxiety and therefore should not be stereotyped as promoting laziness or being unhealthy (AnxietyCentre. 2016). Other obese people see these models and are inspired to take pride in the way they look, not to eat poorly, and taking pride in the way one looks leads to confidence, meaning healthier self-esteem.

Whatever people find inspiration from when viewing obese models in high fashion, it’s up to the individual, not the fashion industry or anyone else to decide for them. Nobody has the right to tell someone who or what they should or should not be and to say that you do have the right, is controlling, egotistical and superficial…but then again, one could argue that is the definition of luxury fashion.

Written by Sarah Channer.

 

References

AnxietyCentre. 2016. Weight Gain Anxiety Symptom.
http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/weight-gain.shtml.

Beck, Laura. 2014. Is this what a plus size model should look like? Cosmopolitan. Last updated 11 January. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a18375/plus-sized-models/.

Berry, Jess Dr. 2011. Street Style: Fashion Photography, Weblogs and Urban Image.

DiabetesQueensland. 2016. Who is at risk?
http://www.diabetesqld.org.au/healthy-living/who-is-at-risk.aspx.

Instagram. 2016. hfconfess. Last updated 4 October.
https://www.instagram.com/hfconfess/

Medical-Dictionary. 2016. Obesity. 
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/obesity.

Sukala, William R. 2016. Ask the Personal Trainer.
http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=8311&sc=128.

Vogue. 2015. Tess Holiday. Last updated 4 February.
http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-curvy/curvy-news/2015/02/tess-holliday.

Vogue. 2016. How Ashley Graham stole the show at the VMA’s. Last updated 29 August.
http://www.vogue.com/13470563/ashley-graham-vma-2016-total-look/.

Under Your Skin: Tattoos in the Fashion Industry

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Even in this ‘progressive’ age where tattoos are extremely popular, it’s no secret that visible tattoos affect a person’s chance at many jobs, entering certain venues and generally the public’s opinion of them. However there is one industry it effects that seems to go somewhat unnoticed by many. Ask yourself: have you ever seen a high fashion model with visible tattoos? Facial piercings? Unnatural hair colour even? Yes, there are alternative models that are used for smaller scale companies and niche markets but the tattoos are always used as a specific definer in the modelling, rather than seeing the model the same as any other; somewhat used as an accessory. This is completely appropriate in some situations but it sometimes taken to far, like the bizarre trend of fake tattoo sleeves, where a stocking like material with tattoos printed on it can be worn for that trendy tattoo look without the pain or commitment. This was also taken to the next level at Milan Fashion week in Dsquared2’s spring/summer 2016 menswear collection where the models wore full body tattoo stockings.

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I speak for myself but I’m sure I’m not alone when saying, as someone with many visible tattoos and a dedication to the process and permanence of tattoos, I find this somewhat offensive. A huge part of getting a tattoo is the process of finding or creating a design for your individual taste, going through the usually many, many hours of pain and discomfort while getting it done and the healing process, then of course, the life commitment. It’s ornamentation of the body, a lifestyle, a hobby and a whole culture- not just a fashion accessory. The main reason these fake tattoos bother me is that they are usually worn by those who feel tattoos are unprofessional or somewhat related to crime and rebellion.

When googling ‘tattooed mainstream models’ I found images of models such as Cara Delevingne and other well-known high end models and my first thought was “but they have no tattoos”. However upon closer inspection of the photos I found that they all had very small tattoos on their wrist, behind their ear, the back of their neck or somewhere else subtle.

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Yes, technically tattooed, but as someone who works in the tattoo industry, I can say there is a huge difference between having a tattoo and being tattooed. It’s not possible to say exactly why high fashion models don’t have large visible tattoos but it can be pretty easy to guess. In surveys conducted in 2012 it was found that 24% of adults surveyed thought people with tattoos were more likely to be associated with deviant behaviour, which although is slightly lower than in 2003, is still around a quarter of adults (Vanishing Tattoo 2012). On top of this, according to Salary.com 76% of people with visible tattoos or piercings hurt their chances of getting a job, with the tolerance to this getting lower and lower as the age of the employer gets higher- no surprise there. So taking these statistics into account, it can be assumed that visible tattoos are generally seen as ‘trashy’, ‘low class’ and associated with crime- unless of course they’re fake, then they’re super trendy.

Although Queensland’s new laws around tattooing and biker gangs seem to have taken a huge step back in the acceptance of tattoos- to the point where tattoo artists are asked to visually record tattoos they do and document the identity of the people who got it (so they can be easily identified when the commit a crime, those dirty tattooed delinquents)- society seems to be slowly moving towards accepting visible tattoos in professional environments- about time, tattoos are just another form of art.


References:

The Fashionisto 2015, “Dsquared2 Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear Collection | Milan Fashion Week”, http://www.thefashionisto.com/gallery/dsquared2-springsummer-2016-menswear-collection-milan-fashion-week/

Salary.com 2016, How Tattoos Affect Your Career, http://www.salary.com/how-tattoos-affect-your-career/

Vanishing Tattoo 2012, “Tattoo Facts and Statistics”, http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_facts.htm

Body Positivity isn’t Just for the Curvy

Social media’s comments on women’s body image has taken an interesting turn, changing from the more ‘traditional’ form of body shaming known as fat shaming to the now more common skinny shaming. Now don’t get me wrong, no form of body shaming is ever okay and unless you are a doctor giving health advice, commenting on a women’s body without her invitation is not okay but unfortunately skinny shaming is not being taken as seriously as fat shaming is or ever was.

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An article on the site “Mamamia” titled “Please stop complaining when people call you skinny” is infuriating to read for anyone thin girl who’s ever encountered skinny shaming. The article refers to skinny shaming in inverted commas as though it isn’t real while referring to fat shaming as abuse, stating that it’s a lot easier to be skinny that it is to be fat, as though this is pure fact. As someone who has grown up being very skinny- by genetics and not through extreme diet or exercise- as soon as I was old enough to know what body image was, I was unhappy with mine. I felt awkward, gangly and skeletal and, particularly moving into teenage years, was made to feel unsexy because of my petite rectangular body shape and complete lack of curves. I got called several of the cliché names such as ‘skinny bitch’ and ‘skin and bones’, even receiving intended harmless comments on how skinny I was affected me hugely. This lead to extreme exercise and dealing with several forms of eating disorders in an attempt to get ‘sexier’ curvy body and is still something I struggle with immensely to this day. Obviously, as someone who has had to deal with having a scrawny body and skinny shaming, it infuriates me to read “sure being called names for being skinny may hurt if they happen”  but it isn’t a real issue and it doesn’t affect skinny people as much. The article claims that fat shaming is worse because it’s more likely to happen when in reality this just isn’t true, it’s just more obvious. Fat shaming is seen at fat shaming because the word ‘fat’ in our society is associated with bad. Skinny shaming is most often seen as complimentary because skinny has come to be associated with “good”. Just because “Oh you’re so skinny!” or “there’s practically nothing of you” may be directed as complements, they’re not always taken that way, especially as someone struggling with body image.

I think the main issue around this whole fat shaming/ skinny shaming issue is the stigma around the words ‘fat’ and ‘skinny’. Slowly articles and voices have been emerging around the ‘fat is a word, not an insult’ movement and one of those voices is Marsha Coupé who explains in an interview with The Telegraph why fat isn’t an insult and should be taken negatively, stating “Fat is a size. I am fat. It’s not an ugly word.” This is quite an inspiring attitude and is hopefully the start of the end of body shaming.

Insulting or shaming someone for their body size or any physical appearance for that matter is simply not okay, this is something society cannot seem to grasp and with red carpet critiques and paparazzi constantly ripping apart celebrities for their appearances, who can blame us? We have terrible examples. It is also not okay to degrade someone else’s problem because you think it isn’t as bad as your own. It’s time to stop playing the ‘who has it worse’ competition and just focus on being happy with ourselves and accepting each other for who we are.


References: 

Mamamia 2016, “Please stop complaining when people call you skinny”, http://www.mamamia.com.au/skinny-shaming-fat-shaming/

The Telegraph 2014, ‘I’m fat, so what? It’s not an ugly word’: Why the f-word might just finally be OK, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/10768343/Im-fat-so-what-Its-not-an-ugly-word-Why-its-OK-to-be-large.html

White-Washed Runway’s are no Luxury.

Luxury fashion gets a wake-up call as the fight for diversity grows stronger! 2016’s Fashion Month witnessed a call for greater representation of models of colour and ethnic diversity.

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Anniesa Hasibaun’s Collection at New York Fashion Week 2016 (Roberts 2016).

New York welcomed the first ever Indonesian designer to ever present during the prestigious couture Fashion Week. Anniesa Hasibaun showcased her collection at the Moynihan Station and featured hijabs in every outfit of her collection, making history. The designer paired seductive materials like silk and sparkling gems with flattering feminine designs and soft pastel colours. As the models walked confidently down the runway, Hasibaun’s collection shined both aesthetically and conceptually. The show was well received and praised for the daring and inspiring move. The show ended with an audience standing ovation, again making history in luxury fashion (Roberts 2016).

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Ashley B. Chew: Black Models Matter Black Leather Tote Bag (Denardo 2016).

Also, inspiring change in luxury fashion was visual artist and emerging model, Ashley B. Chew (Ashleybchew.com 2016). Chew made a potent statement during the couture New York Fashion Week inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. Chew, a now street style icon, paired a white singlet featuring a black square and the words ‘100% blackness,’ with a black leather tote bag which she had written the words, ‘Black Models Matter,’ in white paint. This sparked the trending hashtag, #BlackModelsMatter to go viral and make news around the world (Denardo 2016). 

Overall, there is a positive and growing improvement in the inclusion of diverse models  in luxury fashion and increasing criticism for brands that have made little efforts to acknowledge or actively change their ‘whitewashed’ practices. As seen for Valentino’s collection this season, who was criticised by the media for showcasing mostly White models with cornrow styled hair in an African-themed collection (Denardo 2016).

The brands that were rated the most diversity during Fashion Month were:

– Chromat (70%)
– Tracy Reese (60%)
– Sophie Theallet (60%)
– Martin Grant (50%)
– Rahul Mishra (50%).

The brands that were rated as the least multicultural during Fashion Month with only hiring two models of colour each (<7% diversity) were:

-Erdem
-Nina Ricci
-Roksanda
-Giorgio Armani
-Yves Saint Laurent

The brands that were completely exclusive (no diversity) were:

– Orla Kiely
– John Richmond
– Uma Wang
– Comme des Garçons
– Junya Watanabe
– David Laport
– Undercover
– Erin Fetherston

(Denardo 2016).

The total percentage of models of colour for the New York Fashion week increased from last year however the numbers are still low (24.4 % in 2015 to 28.4% in 2016). There’s still an overwhelming 71.6% of White models featured this year. Milan’s Fashion Week however, had the least diversity and showed 82.8% White models (Denardo 2016)The problem with this racial gap is because ‘the value attached to luxury is a crucial component in any society’s self-understanding’ and if a group is not represented/attached, society could discriminate and understand such a group as having less value (Ryan 2007, 10).

During the Spring 2016 Season, out of ‘373 shows and 9,926 model appearances from [Fashion Month] 77.6 percent of the…models were White’ (Denardo 2016).

The push for racial and ethnic diversity  in the luxury fashion industry is growing. However, with an overall 77.6% dominance of White models featured during Fashion Month this year, what is going to be done to ensure the fashion industry closes the gap? Will we start to see major brands become banned from showcasing during Fashion Month because of their ethnically and racially insensitive choices? Or will the fashion industry as a whole continue to pretend like it is exempt from the moral responsibilities to present ethical collections with transparent decision making?

Written by Sarah Channer.

References

Ryan, Nicky. 2007. Prada and the Art of Patronage, Fashion Theory. London: Routledge.

H&M has come a long way, but don’t be fooled

H&M just launched their new campaign video and it’s a thing of beauty. It captures a diverse range of women displaying a full spectrum of what it “ladylike” means in 2016, all having a great time in H&M’s new Autumn 2016 collection. We see muscular women, women unzipping their jeans to eat french fries in a hotel room, transgender women, women with armpit hair; women of all races, ages, shapes and sizes. It’s all set to a great cover of Tom Jones’ She’s a Lady (1971) by Lion Babe. It’s tremendously empowering to watch and has generated a great discussion online via the hashtag #Ladylike.

It’s hard to believe this celebration of real women comes from the same H&M that was under fire five years ago for using computer generated models for their swimwear range. This angered a lot of people because it highlighted how unattainable the beauty standards set by these images are. Professional models with strictly policed body types couldn’t even make the cut. So this display of diversity and realness shows some growth on the company’s part.

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But it’s important to remember that while it’s an empowering, diverse, inclusive, contemporary ad, it’s still an ad to promote the H&M brand. And if the recent exposés about H&M factory conditions in Cambodia and India are anything to go by, they don’t seem to be putting their progressive ideas into practice.

It’s also hard to swallow their body positivity stance when many of their stores don’t have a plus size section, their flagship Sydney store being one of them. Journalist Amy Stockwell wrote of her embarrassment when she was invited to the opening of the new store on Pitt Street and she found out that none of the clothes would fit her. “Fat people don’t belong here,” she wrote. “We don’t fit in here. We might be invited, but we aren’t welcome.”

So I love the new campaign video. I like the clothes and the overall sentiment, but what the video asks its audience to buy into is a brand with a far less wholesome track record.

Sources

She’s a plus sized woman, but Sydney’s newest H&M doesn’t cater for her.

Don’t Fall For the New H&M Campaign

http://mashable.com/2011/12/08/hm-cg-models/#EjF8rdfNkOqQ

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/20/hm-ladylike-campaign_n_12102486.html

 

The short history of the “timeless” diamond engagement ring

At not even four years out of highschool, I find my Facebook feed already filling up with engagement posts. I may not be anywhere near tying the knot, but it’s getting me thinking about the farce that is the modern-day wedding, namely the first big wedding purchase- the engagement ring.

When a couple gets engaged, everyone talks about the ring. Timeless and precious, the engagement ring is seen as a symbolic representation of a couple’s love and hopes for the future. Like everything else about weddings, bigger and more expensive is the goal, with $4-5000 being an average pricetag for this time honored tradition. But if what people are buying into is the tradition, it’s important to note that diamond engagement rings are a concept less than a century old, and were the subject of perhaps the most successful marketing campaign of all time.

CollegeHumor’s Adam Conover, in his series Adam Ruins Everything, describes how the De Beers company artificially limited the global diamond supply in the 1930s, while aggressively marketing diamonds as the only proper way to show love and devotion. It was so successful that diamond engagement rings became ingrained into Western culture. Even in recent years where people make viral videos and articles about the history of diamonds, people buy them anyway because of pressure from spouses, friends, family and society.

Alternatives such as synthetic diamonds, cubic zirconias and other gems are becoming more and more prevalent, especially among young consumers who care about the ethical and environmental questions that diamond mining raises. Some couples are even eschewing rings altogether, choosing to get matching engagement tattoos.

Creating a market for a product from the ground up is something the fashion industry and advertising in general is very good at, so it’s up to consumers to stay informed and educated.

Sources

http://time.com/money/4069874/engagement-rings-diamond-moissanite-alternatives/

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-engagement-ring-shopping-objectively-sucks/

Male Body Image: Man up

 

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It is extremely well known that body image is a huge issue for females in the current age, but what is less talked about is the effect images in the media have on male’s body image and self-esteem. Although many women upon hearing this seem to think; “Yeah, welcome to our world”, or “So what? We deal with that every day, get over it”, men don’t get the same recognition surrounding this problem.

Among the commotion and drama surrounding sexualisation and fat shaming of women, we forget that this is extremely present with men too. What’s worse is that whenever they try to speak up about it they’re told to ‘man up’ because these problems are seen as feminine or ‘gay’, therefore the issue is rarely heard.

A huge problem that stems from body image issues is eating disorders- once again seen as a female issue; however studies for the “Epidemiology of eating disorders” (Wade, Keski-Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011) showed that in the United States, 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder in their life time. Although this number is half that of women that suffer from an eating disorder, it is believed that the reason for this is that males tend to be under or undiagnosed. One of the causes of this has already been mentioned; the stigma around eating disorders being a female problem, therefore men not wanting to come forward about these problems under the fear of being considered less of a ‘man’.  Another cause is very similar to this, but caused more by the researchers themselves rather than societal ‘norms’. This preconceived notion that eating disorders only affect women have caused the diagnosing assessments to be gender biased leading to these assessments letting many men slip under the eating disorder radar (Darcy, 2014).

Along with the more well-known eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, a huge issue when it comes to male body issue is a desire for increased muscularity. Women constantly complain about thin, flawless, busty, tanned, blond, big eyed, pouty lipped super models in media- and quite rightly- but have you seen the male models for big companies such as Calvin Klein?

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Lean, tanned, tall, muscly and perfectly toned, chiselled faces with manly stubble and piercing dark eyes; what you can expect to see from any one of these models. With images like this all over social media and fashion advertising, it’s no wonder that 25% of normal weight males perceive themselves to be underweight (Atlantic, 2014), 90% of teenaged boys exercise in attempt to bulk up (Eisenberg, 2012) and 68% of college aged men think they have too little muscle (AOL body image survey).  This muscly body portrayed in fashion is seen as the ‘ideal male body type’ and this has been increasing since 1970 (Labre, 2005). What’s more, much like women’s ‘ideal body image’ portrayed in fashion advertising and photography, in almost every case it’s been hugely photo-shopped and retouched on top of professional hair, make up, wardrobe, lighting and photography; literally unachievable by the everyday person.
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Although this is a huge issue for both men and women, I feel it has become a lot better for women in recent years with fashion labels slowly bringing in plus sized models and diversity in models but when you think about it, how many male plus sized models do you see in fashion? I can’t think one. It’s time to end the stigma around male body image and stop putting mental and physical health second to ‘manhood’, eating disorders and body dysmorphia do not have genders.


References:

Atlantic Magazine blog, “Body-image pressure increasing affects boys.” March 10, 2014

Darcy, A., Lin, I.H. (2012) “Are we asking the right questions? A review of assessment of males with eating disorders.” Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention

Eisenberg, M, Wall, M., & Neumark-Sztainer. (2012) “Muscle-enhancing behaviors among adolescent girls and boys.” Pediatrics.

Huffington Post 2014, “Body Image Issues Are Not Just For Women”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/body-image-issues-are-not-just-for-women_b_5034285

Labre, M. (2005) “Burn fat, build muscle: a content analysis of Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness.” International Journal of Men’s Health.

National Eating Disorders, “Research on Males and Eating Disorders”, https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/research-males-and-eating-disorders

Wade, T. D., Keski-Rahkonen A., & Hudson J. (2011).”Epidemiology of eating disorders.” In M. Tsuang and M. Tohen (Eds.), Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology (3rd ed.)

Work it.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the world of fashion. It is constantly changing and things from the past come back.  But what is having a comeback at the moment is fashion that was originally workwear.

The Flannel

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The Flannel can be traced back to  around the 17th century, where farmers wore flannel shirts to protect themselves. The fabric was originally made from either carded wool or worsted yarn. A process called Carding is used to break up the wool fibers so they lay more or less parallel to one another.

The flannel can sometimes be confused with Plaid swell, which is also an ‘in trend’. Basically plaid is a pattern which is believed to have originated in Scotland, whereas flannel is a fabric, as mentioned above . The print and fabric are often used together and quickly became one. Stereotypically representing the lumberjack,  popular culture in 20th century  was always depicted with a pair of boots and a plaid flannel.

Flannel shirts today often associate with the grunge or hipster look.Modern day flannels are usually made with cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers.

 

Flannel isn’t the only workwear that has come back into trend.

Denim Overalls

The overalls first appeared in the U.S. in the 1700s and were known as ‘slops’.  Overalls became the uniform of the working stiff,  they served as an emblem worn by railroaders and farmers Overalls were introduced  as a protective article of clothing intended to prevent work related wear and tear. Overalls are also worn by housepainters, and carpenters in white rather than blue denim. 
While overalls were for the workers, they became a fashionable item around the 90s when grunge music became popular. Teens could be found wearing overalls with one strap hanging down and a flannel shirt tied around their waist.

another huge trend that came from workwear..

Boots

I am sure we have all heard of Timberland’s and Dr Martens, they were also originally made as workwear.

– Timberland’s

The yellow boot was originally made for hard working New Englanders. Eventually the boot started selling in stores like Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue – Beginning the new era of the yellow boot, the boot as a fashion icon. In the early 80’s in Europe the Timberland brand was known for handsewn boat shoes not the yellow boat. By the mid 1980’s it began to get some attention and was sold at high end sporting goods and department stores around Italy, United Kingdom and Germany. The Hip Hop style first started in Hong Kong around 1984, sweeping through Japan which caused a demand for the yellow boot. The boot stands as a symbol of individuality and a symbol of independence for young adults in Asia.

 – Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens were originally a  work-wear boot that was even sold as a gardening shoe.  The boot was initially worn by postmen and factory workers, their first few years of existence was based on the £2 work-wear boot. Around the 1970’s the boot had become a symbol of self expression and become a fashion icon from there. Without music, Dr Martens would have remained a workwear boot.

So many past trend are returning, Where will fashion go next, or what else will make a comeback?

 

References
Dr Martens. “The History of Dr.Martens”http://www.drmartens.com/us/history (Accessed 4th October)
Fashiontag. 2014. ” Do we still like OVERALLS?” . https://thefashiontag.com/2014/07/21/overalls-trend-summer-styles/ (Accessed 3rd October 2016)
Rachel. 2011. “History of the trend: Flannel shirts” http://www.collegefashion.net/trends/history-of-the-trend-flannel-shirts/ (Accessed 2nd October 2016)

Rotenberk,Lori. 2013. “Bib Overalls:From farmwear to fashion icon”.http://modernfarmer.com/2013/10/bib-overalls/ (Accessed 2nd October 2016)

Staff, Rue.2014. “Fashion Flashback: The return of the Overalls”. https://now.ruelala.com/fashion-flashback-overalls (Accessed 3rd October 2016)
Timberland. “Timberland’s Original Yellow Boots”. https://www.timberland.com/yellow-boot.html (Accessed 4th October 2016)

 

White Wash

The fashion industry has long been dominated by Caucasian models. From the covers of magazines, to runway shows, to clothes designers and fashion editors, it is a rare occasion that these roles will not be occupied by a white person. With a move towards more diversity in society in general, the fashion industry has taken some notice, but not much action. Why has the fashion industry refused to encourage diversity?

White models have always dominated the fashion industry, but with an outcry for more diverse models there has been some slight headway made. A survey conducted in 2015 discovered that 84.7% of models in spring fashion print campaigns were white. The following year the same survey was conducted finding that white models had a 78.2% share of fashion advertising during the spring period. This is followed by 8.3% black models, 4% Asian models and 3.8% Hispanic models. Viewing these two surveys together it is clear that the fashion industry is making some effort into having more diversity in the models they select, but only slightly. Over 78% of models selected being Caucasian is a huge majority and is heavily disproportionate to how racially diverse the countries these advertisements are being shown in are.

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The above is a clear example of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry today.

One reason speculated for the lack of diversity in the fashion industry is money. With white people traditionally being higher income earners the dominance of Caucasian models has been affiliated with the notion that the majority of the clothing will be bought by Caucasian women. The idea that money is the reason for a lack of diversity is reinforced by the increase of Asian models in recent years, which coincides with China’s rise to financial prominence.

Another idea being presented for the lack of diversity in models is because of a lack of diversity in the fashion industry as a whole. With a vast majority of designers, photographers, editors and so on being white.

A lot of the reason the fashion industry mainly hires white models is based upon old ideas about what sells fashion and what the fashion industry is, and it’s in “the rethinking of old ideas”(English 2011, 131) that will allow the fashion industry to grow, evolve and ultimately become more diverse.

Whatever the reason for the fashion industry significantly favouring Caucasian models, it is clear that a change is not only wanted but needed. This is clear to many who cannot understand why there has not been a more profound push towards diversity. Whether a change hasn’t occurred because of the fashion industry being mainly white, or it hasn’t happened because of concerns about profits, or maybe it’s just racism, it is clear a change must be made, hopefully sooner rather than later.

References

English, Bonnie. 2011. Japanese Fashion Designers: The work and influence of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

The Guardian “Survey finds that 78% of models in fashion adverts are white”. 2016. Accessed October 3. https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2016/may/10/survey-finds-that-78-of-models-in-fashion-adverts-are-white

Bustle “80 Percent Of Models From Fall 2015 Shows Were White, & Fashion Still Has A Diversity Problem” 2016. Accessed October 3. https://www.bustle.com/articles/71191-80-percent-of-models-from-fall-2015-shows-were-white-fashion-still-has-a-diversity

photo: http://www.refinery29.com/racism-fashion-industry-cultural-appropriation