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Fashion News, Is it offensive?

Is it offensive? Drop Dead Clothing’s “Anorexic” Model

Advert featuring a size 8 model banned for glamourising anorexia

We seem to be spending a lot of time worrying about whether things are offensive or not lately, but the Advertising Standards Agency will keep banning fashion adverts, so here’s the latest conundrum for our readers to answer:

Is this model glamorizing anorexia?

The ASA thinks she is: they’ve banned adverts featuring her from appearing on Drop Dead Clothing’s website on the grounds that they’re socially irresponsible as the model is “too thin”.

Their statement:

“We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye make-up, the model looked underweight in the pictures. We noted that Drop Dead’s target market was young people.We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy make-up and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead’s clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”

Our first thoughts upon reading this:

1. Can open, worms EVERYWHERE.

2. We feel sorry for the model: it can’t be nice to cause adverts to be banned simply because YOUR body is deemed unacceptable.

3. As with yesterday’s Marc Jacobs/Dakota Fanning issue, these bans simply serve to draw even more attention to the supposedly “offensive” images. Case in point: we’d never heard of Drop Dead Clothing until this advert was banned…

4. The comments on this post will make for depressing reading, because, for reasons which we’ve never been able to fathom, many people seem to feel they are able to diagnose health conditions by looking at photographs on the internet. This is almost always unfair to the people being “diagnosed”: just because you think someone LOOKS unhealthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they ARE unhealthy.

As for Drop Dead Clothing, they have, of course, refuted the claims. They say that while they acknowledge the photographs make the model look thinner, she is a UK size 8, which is not an abnormal size. In fact, they think it’s offensive to call a size 8 model offensive. So, in short, everyone’s offended.

Who’s right here? Are you offended by this model’s size, or you offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? Perhaps you’re offended by people who are offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? The main thing to note is that, in today’s society, it’s important that you be offended by SOMETHING. So pick your side now…

(The Fashion Police are going to take a shot every time someone uses the phrase “she needs to eat a sandwich” or a derivative thereof in the comments on this. We predict we’ll be roaring drunk by lunchtime…)

Fashion News

Fashion News: Diane Von Furstenberg wants models to be carded at Fashion Week

Don’t worry, it’s not another “size 0” controversy: this time it’s all about the models ages rather than their weights…

CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg is calling for all models to be carded before being allowed to walk in shows at New York Fashion Week this September. The legal age limit in the US is 16, but last season DVF herself came under fire after “inadvertently” allowing a 15-year-old model to appear in her show, so her letter on the CFDA website is possibly partly designed to show that the designer is taking the issue seriously.

“In our continuing quest to protect the models that we work with, we have updated the CFDA Health Initiative guidelines to recommend that models be asked for i.d. to ensure that they are at least 16 years old on the day of a show,” writes Von Furstenberg. “The casting agents for the Diane von Furstenberg show will be doing this and we encourage others to do the same.”

Makes sense to us, not just because it seems obvious that if a girl is too young to legally work, she shouldn’t be working, but because so many of the issues surrounding runway models seem to stem, not from the fact that they’re thin, but from the fact that they are essentially still children, with the figures to match. Children aren’t the ones buying designer clothing (or most of them aren’t, anyway), so it seems strange that they’d be the ones modelling it, for many reasons. 

Read Diane Von Furstenberg’s full statement here.


Thylane Loubry Blondeau: is a 10-year-old too young to model adult fashion?

This is Thylane Loubry Blondeau. She’s ten years old, and she appeared in a deliberately-provocative editorial in French Vogue last December, which appeared to be intended to play with the idea of “dress up”, and perhaps to satirize the fashion industry’s obsession with youth.

The images in question, however, have caused something of a stir, with some people arguing that, however knowingly it was done, the sexualization of ten year old girls in this way just isn’t cool.

(We’ve no idea why this outrage is all happening NOW, when the photos in question were published several months ago, but for some reason it is…)

Thylane herself now has a Tumblr dedicated to her  photos, (the owner recently changed the name from “F*** Yeah, Thylane Blondeau” to the slightly less controversial Thylane Blondeau pictures, although as of this morning, that site seems to be down, too), many of which showcase her very “grown up” poses and a much more sophisticated sense of style than we’d usually associate with a ten-year-old.

While some are excitedly declaring her to be “the next big thing“, however, others think Thylane’s sultry pout and “sexy” photos “go too far” – and not just in the French Vogue spread, but in many more of the child model’s shots.

Here are just a few of the contrasting opinions being voiced about Thylane:

“This isn’t edgy. It’s inappropriate, and creepy, and I never want to see a nine-year-old girl in high-heeled leopard print bedroom slippers ever again.”

~ Feministing


“…she looks more self-aware and confident than most models working today — to say nothing of grown women in general.”
~ Stylite

“there’s no lightheartedness or playfulness there. There’s
none of the unselfconsciousness that let childhood be so much fun… There’s just Blondeau’s dull eyes and pursed, painted, parted lips of a hard-to-get siren, laid out on a tiger-skin rug or placed in a chair with her skirt carefully tucked out of the way to bare her legs nearly to the hip.”

“I personally found the Vogue Paris editorialrefreshing. Sure, it was disturbing, but it seemed purposefully, knowingly disturbing — “
~ Jezebel

As for us? We think Thylane is one beautiful little girl, and one day she’s going to be an amazingly beautiful woman. And when that time comes, we’ll have no problem seeing her lying on an animal skin in stiletto heels. But there’s plenty of time for all of that, and for now we have to admit that we do find it a little unsettling to find adults drooling over photos of a child.

What do YOU think, though? Should a ten year old be modelling adult fashion in this way, even if it IS intended to make us question the industry, or is it just too young?