The use of underage and dangerously thin models in the fashion industry is a hot topic. Most people would agree that catwalk shows and campaigns need to feature a more diverse range of body shapes and sizes — but the status quo won’t change until fashion designers and modelling agencies get on board.
And this seems to be proving difficult. According to Caroline Nokes MP, head of an all-party group on body image, several agencies didn’t respond to her invitation to discuss the fashion industry’s position on thin models — and nor did Victoria Beckham.
“I have written to a number of model agencies including Wilhelmina, Models 1 and Storm and also to Victoria Beckham, whose show at New York Fashion Week drew such attention to this already concerning problem,” said Nokes. “Sadly, I have received no response from any of them and I think this is a real shame. Having been given the opportunity to take part [in the inquiry] I very much hope those who have declined to take part will not criticise its conclusions.”
Beckham, 41, was criticised for parading a “show of skeletons” at her recent show at New York Fashion Week, despite a pledge she made in 2010 to ban unhealthily thin models from her catwalk.
The designer’s decision to use 17-year-old Peyton Knight to close the show triggered an outpouring of concern from her Instagram followers.
Courtesy: Victoria Beckham/Instagram
“You need to feed this girl… Please give her some food,” commented one, while another demanded furiously: “Jesus, why don’t you just get a motorised skeleton to walk down your catwalks and release these poor girls from this bloody torture of having to starve themselves for a job.”
Beckham didn’t respond directly to the criticisms but did say after the NYFW show: “It’s a collection for all shapes and sizes — I always say it, but I just want women to feel like the best versions of themselves.”
A recent petition calling for fashion week health checks received 30,000 signatures, leading to the parliamentary investigation into whether legislation is needed to protect young models from feeling under pressure to become dangerously thin.
“Legislation should be a last resort, but I’m conscious the fashion industry isn’t responding to calls for change,” said Nokes, as reported by The Guardian. “We would prefer a code of conduct, if we could feel confident it would be adhered to.”
If designers like Victoria Beckham and other top players in the industry won’t even respond to requests for consultation what options do the Government have? It’s great that Beckham designs her clothes for all shapes and sizes. So let’s see her put them on the catwalk.