Guest Post: The Other Side of Size Zero

Size zero; is it really so bad? For the last few years the media has been obsessed with the size zero phenomena, exposing celebrities who are making super skinny fashionable and passing the blame from person to person. What is size zero anyway? Well, technically a U.S. size zero is a U.K size 4, but according to one doctor, size zero is not a real size, it was invented to classify women which are excluded from standard sizing. Not to mention the fact that the media need a catchy name to make a super skinny size even more shocking.


The Runway

In the last decade, the media and fashion industry have been blamed for an increasing number of people developing eating disorders because of the ‘perfect’ bodies they choose to put on show in magazines, television and on the catwalk. Madrid Fashion Week was the first to ban underweight models from the walking the catwalk in 2006. Any models with a body mass index below 18 were unable to take part. Milan followed suit with similar regulations, but why has London not taken this step? Many people in the fashion industry realise that this is a bigger issue than the number printed in your dress. Some women are naturally very slim. True, it is unlikely that anyone is effortlessly a size zero but there are other ways to decide whether they are healthy or not. Under Madrid’s rules of excluding the use of models with a BMI under 18, Kate Moss would be banned, but she always been tiny since she was a teen and despite having kids she has remained tiny. Should a girl be discriminated for being healthy and slim?

Search for Perfection

The thing is, fashion is about escapism and perfection. We all like beautiful things, the drape of a silk dress, the sparkle of diamonds, the sense of wonderment from letting our eyes gaze over a stunning fashion photograph. We like admiring perfect models and perhaps feel a twinge of jealousy and a desire to be more like them, but we also understand the powers of Photoshop and make-up artists and that perfection isn’t an everyday occurrence. As the fashion industry is increasingly blamed for inducing eating disorders in men and women, there’s no denying the statistics. The number of people being admitted to hospital for eating disorders in the last decade has increased by a third and it is thought that four out of ten models are suffering with eating disorders.

A model’s career depends on their looks and what clothes size they are. It is the job they have chosen to do, but no job is more important than health and happiness. It is scary when a model’s knee is wider than their thigh, but to many designers, a model is a clothes hanger for their wonderful creations and they want our focus to be on the garments not the model. Clothes do look better on skinny frames, especially when sashaying down the catwalk, it is important that the clothes hang beautifully. Many designers will make their garments in small sizes and only use models that fit into the clothes. Not all designers are the same, some prefer a nicely fleshed out model, whilst others will use the smallest model possible. It is their artistic licence to choose.

Obviously, health is the most important thing. Some people are a healthy size 6, others are a healthy size 14. The fashion industry may put pressure on people to look good, but everyone feels better when they look good and there is nothing wrong with that.


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