‘Women should be slim for their men but not Size Zero’ says a founder of London Fashion Week

womwn-should-be-slim-for-their-men

The Chief of Police writes…

Yesterday morning, I received a press release which I’m still not totally convinced wasn’t supposed to be a joke – or deliberately controversial at the very least.

Women should be slim for their men but not Size Zero’ says a founder of London Fashion Week,” begins the release (issued by Hillgrove PR), before going on to quote Achilleas Constantinou, “Founder of London Fashion Week and Ariella Couture”, who has some, er, interesting views on women.

“Being a healthy, acceptable weight for one’s partner is a consideration that all women, particularly followers of fashion should consider,” says Constantinou, who’d like to see “size 0” models banned from the runway. “An ideal weight is the goal. An ideal weight for health and an ideal weight to appease your partner”.

You hear that, ladies? Y’all should be SLIM. FOR YOUR MEN. Not for yourself, but to APPEASE YOUR PARTNER. Because that’s really all we women care about, isn’t it? Looking pretty to attract the menfolk. Oh sorry, wait: for a moment there I thought we were back in 1952, when those types of views were actually current, not 2012, when most women (I hope) realise that their entire existence doesn’t have to revolve around pleasing men.

Rampant chauvinism aside, however, I’m just so depressed to see the size/health debate  being once again brought down to dress size. Women SHOULD be “slim”, says Constantinou, but they should NOT be “size 0” : and note, his comments are directed, not just to models/the fashion industry, but to “all women”. So, by this reasoning, NO WOMAN should be “size 0”. Great news for all of the women in the world who are that size, isn’t it? Because according to Constantinou, they just shouldn’t be. Their weight is not acceptable for their partners!

(At this point, I really have to take issue once again with the phrase “size 0” and its continued use by the UK media, and, in this case, a former member of the British Fashion Council. There is no such thing as “size 0” in UK clothing. It does not exist. The smallest dress size available in the UK is a size 4 (which is really only found in petite ranges), but the British media’s insistence on using the term “size 0” encourages people who don’t know this to believe that there’s a size two full dress sizes smaller than a UK size 4. No. There’s isn’t.  In fact, the US size 0 is roughly equivalent to a UK size 6, and you can take that from someone who shops regularly from both UK and US brands.  Depending on the amount of vanity sizing involved, in fact, a size 0 may even be closer to a UK size 8. A J Crew ‘0’ for instance, is much closer to a UK 8 than a 6, and not even close to a UK size 4. Calling it “size 8”  isn’t nearly as shocking as calling it “size 0”, though, so the British media continues to misleadingly use American sizing when writing about this issue for a UK audience, presumably because it makes for better headlines.)

I do agree with Mr Constantinou on one thing, though. He says:

“In 2007 before I resigned from the British Fashion Council, we commissioned the Model Health Inquiry headed by Baroness Denise Kingsmill. It recommended inter-alia a permanent model health panel, which the BFC has set up and this checks models conditions backstage, ensuring they have a sanctuary relaxation zone and healthy food and drink. It also ensures that girls under 16 are not allowed to model and liaises regularly with designers and model agencies to ensure models have access to nutritional information with the focus being on health not on size.”

(My emphasis)

 YES. The focus should be on “health, not on size.” Because the two things are not the same. Health is not about the size on your dress label. It’s not about pleasing your partner. It is not the same for every single person: size 8, say, could be dangerously underweight for one woman, and completely normal for another. There are so many factors to take into consideration when you’re talking about health, and to deem one particular size “unhealthy”, or suggest that anyone who is that size must be ill, only serves to demonize one group of women in the name of “helping” another.

Let’s focus on health. Let’s forget about dress size. Let’s see more models of ALL sizes on the runways: tall ones, short ones, thin ones, curvy ones – even more ground-breakingly, let’s see some older ones, too. I think that would do far more good for the fashion world – and women in general – than simply banning everyone who isn’t the “right” size from the runway, and telling women they must focus on pleasing their men.

12 Comments

  • August 30, 2012

    Beluka

    My most sincere congrats on this article. I think you are absolutely right: focus should be on health! It’s pretty sad to see the importance given to clothing sizes. In Spain we use a different sizing in which a medium size (uk 10-12) equals a Spanish size 38-40: and yet we are told that a size 40 is a large one. Moreover, many brands have been playing with their sizes and now the appropriate size (which fits in most brands) is too small. And, no matter how bright and smart you are, you just feel bad having to try one more size over that.
    For me, just leave the runway for whichever type of woman you want to, but never, ever, even try to make women think that’s how they should look. Luckily enough, we are not the same.

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  • August 30, 2012

    Emily

    Never mind the single people. Never mind the lesbians. Never mind the asexuals. Never mind people who are fat and happy. Never mind the men that like fat women. Never mind the fat men. Never mind that you can be fat and fit as a fiddle, and never mind that you can be slim and sickly. Never mind keeping yourself in shape for your own sake.

    Never mind any of that – just stay slim to appease your partner.

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  • August 30, 2012

    jane

    The most depressing part of this articlle isthe sponsoring ad-a weight loss plan

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  • August 31, 2012

    Carolina W

    I may not be a follower of fashion, but something I’ve noticed with every article I’ve read about it is that they’re never written so they please everybody. One group or another always seems to get offended by reading them, if not more than that.

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  • August 31, 2012

    Viper

    I’m a US size 0 at 5’2″ and 105 pounds, which is in the normal/healthy range. I am not the size I am because of fasting or similar behavior, but because of a healthy diet and a moderate level of physical activity. I do not want to be told I’m “unhealthy” because of an arbitrary number attached to clothing that isn’t even consistent in my own country, much less across the sizing scales of another.

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    • September 3, 2012

      OhReally

      Clearly you have comprehension issues. I’m 5’2″ and 100lbs as well, and while size 0 on our frame is pretty common, it’s not for people 5’6″ and up (proportionally, you and I would be size 0000), who would require unhealthy means to achieve it. Please obtain some empathy.

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  • August 31, 2012

    Jane

    I bet he would doubley hate me, because my little Canadian jeans are 00. I mean come on.

    And I’m totally healthy, I work out, I eat well (not even as a dieting thing. Vegetables are delicious), but I suppose he’d want me to ask my boyfriend what size he’d prefer me to be. After all my entire life revolves around his opinion on my attractiveness.

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  • August 31, 2012

    Ivonne

    It´s actually refreshing to see this kind of article in the internet, instead of the usual “sandwich” jokes.
    Also, every time i hear a coment about how women should please anybody i wonder what kind of family did that person lived in.

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  • September 1, 2012

    James Lowe

    I’m working hard to become an independent designer so that I can create awesome clothing for us fatties and it’s amazing people like you that keep me inspired, thanks so much for this article 🙂

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  • September 2, 2012

    Maggie

    Thank you, thank you! for that awesome reply to an ignorant, arrogant statement.

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  • September 2, 2012

    Elina

    AMEN!

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  • September 30, 2012

    paputsza

    His comment really riles me. I’m a size zero or double zero depending on the brand, and I’m not going to bother to change that. A woman can’t just up and change her metabolism without suffering the consequences and having to sue a pharmaceutical company. Also, I’m short so if I was a size medium in us sizes I would look kind of chunky since clothing size isn’t relative to height. Yes, I am that short. I hate the “real woman” phrase too. If you were born with a vagina, you’re a real woman.

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