Iconic German designer, Karl Lagerfeld describes the fashion world as about “dreams and illusions” but does this world deem to be a nightmare for some over the magnificence its moguls describe? For decades, the debate of whether the fashion industry promotes unhealthy body image has prevailed runway after runway. Would using larger models decrease the prevalence of eating disorders? In the contrary, would this be promoting obesity? The representation of “real women” on the runway continues to become one of contemporary society’s most controversial debates and yet... we are no closer to an answer.
Within modern fashion history, designers have made global headlines, promoting their stance on the weighty debate. From the brutal oppose of Lagerfeld, daring size 20 model campaign of Gautier, to plus size collections of Marc Jacobs, designers have heeded the demand for larger models. While the plus size model remains a rarity on the catwalk, they are appearing more frequently within mainstream society – magazines and ad campaigns promoting “real women” and “real beauty” has prompted a wave of both criticism and admiration.
Saying this, what is a real woman? What is real beauty? What represents the ideal woman? These terms are now so recklessly abused that they’ve lost all emphasis. As for a “real woman”, does that mean to have large hips or breasts? If not, is she somehow fake or unnatural? If models aren’t real women then what are they?
Rather than marginalising women based upon their body shape and dress size, the diversity should be celebrated! It is in the hands of the media and fashion world to lead the change, for now, we stop looking for answers and embrace the truth that beauty truly comes at all sizes.