Disneyrollergirl backs team Vogue in the size zero debate
The size zero debate is one that refuses to go away and this week it's back in fashion like a particularly stubborn slogan tee. This time it's to do with a letter penned by Vogue's Alexandra Shulman which was leaked to the press. I'm backing team Alex all the way!
The letter criticises high end designers for sending out samples in sizes so small that stylists are forced to hire underweight models to fit them. Let me explain. When you see clothes on the runway, you're seeing the very first samples, months ahead of production. Those same samples are the ones sent to magazines and celebrities to wear post-fashion week and it is only once the orders have come in from the store buyers that the designers even know the numbers in which said dresses/jackets/tops are going to be produced.
The sample is basically a prototype for press, buyers and public to look at, judge and like/dislike before the buyers decide whether or not to invest. Only when the season in question arrives is the dress/jacket/top available in a range of sizes for customers to buy. Which is where my gripe comes in. Although I get that it requires a lot of money (not to mention storage space) to produce every sample in a range of sizes, wouldn't it be sensible to produce say the ten key looks in at least two sizes so that non-miniscule models had a chance of fitting into them?
My beef doesn't stop with designers either but extends to the high street. When you work on a mainstream magazine (and in fact, even in the higher end ones these days) there are always going to be a number of pages given over to 'real people' models. There's nothing worse than turning up on a shoot with a celebrity or other non-model to find they aren't a sample size 8 (even though they/their publicist insisted they were). It's embarrassing for the stylist and demoralising for the 'model'. As it tends to be high street clothes used for these shoots, it would help hugely if there was the opportunity to pull size 12s or 14s alongside the 8s and 10s (note - I'm talking UK sizes here).
To give credit where it's due, Warehouse, Next and M&S do send out samples in a size twelve which is a start but not good enough. Currently, some brands allow stylists to borrow in-season items from the store for shoots - helpful but not ideal. Pity the poor customer who unwittingly buys a dress that has been sweated in the day before by insert-name-of-soap-star-here and pity the poor stylist who has to pull for a shoot in the middle of sale season for a magazine that hits the news-stand three months later. If you wonder why half the clothes aren't available in the magazine you just bought, there's your answer (but that's a whole other can of criticism for another time). It will be interesting to see which - if any - designers respond positively to this new debate. My guess is it will spark a change but it won't happen overnight.