NY Fashion Week was held last week, and a lot of polish bloggers, nail artists, and nail art fans checked out the designs on the runway. I actually peeked at a couple of the shows that interested me, and whipped up a couple nail designs inspired by those shows.
But after giving it some real thought, I don’t want to be a part of that. (I’m fully aware that no one associated with FW will give a hoot about that, of course!)
I checked out some of the shows online, and really enjoyed it. But a niggling icky feeling started coming out. It’s the same feeling I get about circuses. NYFW and circuses can both be fun and exciting, but there’s an undercurrent of abuse behind the scenes. Someone’s suffering to make the bucks for the big guys, whether it’s caged tigers, dancing bears, or teenage models trying not to hit three digits on the scale so they have the ‘right’ look. It just gave me a bad feeling, which is why I’m not participating. I’m keeping an open mind and may reconsider in the future, but for now it feels wrong for me.
As much as I enjoy the clothes and the designs, photo after photo of blank-eyed, super thin models began to grate on me. Some of those girls are very young- and the audience is getting younger too. I’m a pretty darn stubborn, free-thinking adult who’s generally comfortable in my own skin, but I noticed myself looking in the mirror after seeing all those models, and I felt a bit…inadequate. Like, “maybe I could get those real cheekbones if I just lost a little weight.” How do seeing these ‘idealized’ body images again and again affect younger girls who are just starting out?
Those models are thin. (Duh.) As a culture, we’ve gotten so used to seeing really thin models that it bothers us less and less. The more exposure we get to these unrealistic body shapes, the more normal it seems. I know some models are naturally thin, but many have to do unnatural, unhealthy things to get to the weight that the fashion industry deems ideal. I know the clothes hang better on very thin, 6 foot tall ladies, but that is just not a body shape that’s realistic or healthy for most everyone.
If we could somehow transport modern models to the fashion editors of the 1950s, I think they’d be shocked at how thin girls have become. The ultrathin shape of today would probably have translated to “sickly” in those days. Everyone involved probably would have been sent to the malt shop on a daily basis to plump up to get runway ready.
There are some signs of improvement. There’s a lot of people fighting back against these idealized images, and spreading the message to girls that you can be happy no matter what you weigh. And yes, there was one plus-sized debut at NYFW this year- the first ever. It’s a step in the right direction, but let’s face it, that’s not at all mainstream.
Despite those positive advances, I don’t hold out hope for the fashion industry suddenly deciding to be inclusive and showcasing clothes for all different body types- I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the ultra thin models for decades to come. Fashion is largely about exclusiveness- that crazily expensive designer piece, that unobtainable body. Fashion’s not really about feeling satisfied and content with ourselves- if it was, why would we perpetually need new stuff?
Be happy however you look. If you feel your weight is not healthy for you, talk to a professional and work out a plan to get to a more healthy place. But do it as an investment in yourself and your well-being, not because you’re trying to look like what some folks in the fashion industry have deemed ‘ideal.’ Be happy, healthy and well wherever you are. :)