Thursday, October 7, 2010

The times they are a-changing….okay…not really - Tia

The times they are a-changing….okay…not really - Tia

Much has been made recently about Crystal Renn walking the runaways of NY and Paris. So many publications are going on and on about the shift in the fashion world toward “regular” looking models. Many feel they should be applauded because it shows openness toward women of all shapes and sizes. This is where I call B.S. 

I’m no fashion guru. While I subscribe to Vogue and purchase Marie Claire and Vanity Fair so often I might as well subscribe, for the most part I’m not THAT up on fashion. But it’s mostly because fashion doesn’t really like girls like me. (More on that later.) However, as a fairly frequent reader I am cognizant enough to know that while the fashion industry may throw us “regular” girls a bone every once in a great while, they are FAR from making this a norm or a trend. All anyone has to do is flip through the September issue of Vogue and you’ll quickly see that regular in the fashion world equals size 0-4.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no hater. I know that these girls make a lot of sacrifices and the modeling world is cut throat. But don’t insult my intelligence by saying that one size 10 girl = REVOLUTION.

And while I’m thinking about it let me take a minute to talk about Crystal Renn. I have been a fan of hers for a minute. Back in the day I loved her in the Lane Bryant ads. She was always the FIERCEST chick in the photos. After doing some digging I found out that she struggled with anorexia at the beginning of her career. But after getting help and taking control of her life rather than letting fashion’s dictates control it for her, she went on to be a successful plus size model.

I absolutely love an underdog story so, of course, Crystal became one of my heroes in the fashion game. But it seemed like the longer I followed her, the thinner she got. I finally found myself wondering, “Is she even plus sized anymore?” (She is by the way)

You have to love the internet. All I had to do was google Crystal’s name to learn that I wasn’t the only person wondering what happened to our favorite thick girl model. By her own admission Crystal has lost weight. She began an exercise program and went from this:

To this:

But even with the svelte frame, at a size 10, she’s still considered a plus size model. And that, in my opinion, is where all of the confusion and frustration comes in. While the fashion industry sees a size 8 and up as plus size, the rest of the world DOES NOT. I dare you to walk into a Lane Bryant as a size 8 and ask for a pair of jeans. This “change” that the fashion industry is so quick to pat themselves on the back for is slow moving. And it for sure has not been disseminated to retail stores or mass media. Don’t believe me, pick up any magazine and look for a model bigger than a size 4. Turn on the television and count how many female actresses you see who are bigger than a size 6. Go to any high end store and try to find a designer label in a size bigger than 12. Change…I can’t call it.

Now I would be a raving hypocrite if I didn’t mention that I’m currently on a weight loss mission. As a former athlete and (VERY) part time former model, I’m currently dissatisfied with the state of my body. And while I want to get in shape for health reasons, I also want to look better in clothes from designers who basically don’t support girls like me. I love cute clothes. But as a former size 16, I learned that being tall (about 5’10”) and thick pretty much guarantees that you will not be able to shop the labels that you see in the magazines. I’m not a label whore by any stretch, but I do love a well tailored garment. But somewhere along the way, it seems like someone whispered in the ears of fashion designers that girls bigger than a size 10 don’t care what they wear. Regular chicks like me often get no love from the designers who make the trends.

So the question is, whose fault is it? Is it fashion’s fault for telling us that the only way to be pretty is to be thin? Or is it our fault for buying into the hype? Everything in me wants to point at the industry and yell, “You did this to us!” But then again, once you have knowledge it falls to you to do something with it. And while we’ll probably never see a girl like Crystal on the cover of Vogue, I believe it’s up to those of us who care to support the girls who look like the rest of us, support the labels that realize that every girl isn’t a just a hanger for clothes and most importantly understand that beauty is NOT a number. Anna Wintour could put the Crystal Renn’s of the world on every page of Vogue. But it won’t mean a thing unless we realize that our beauty is not a number on a scale or a certain size pair of jeans. The fashion industry is always going to believe its own hype. The real question is: Are you going to believe it too?


Lei said...

Okay here is my problem w/ the fashion industry. I am about the size of most of the models,what they would call stick-thin. What you see on the runway does not in anyway relate to what is sold in the stores. Contrary to popular belief it is not easy to find clothes for thin women. I again say-women-not teenage girls. When you are a grown woman in her 30's who was not blessed w/ curves it is hard to find clothes that fit you and are age appropriate. People think because skinny girls model the clothes, that we can find these "said clothes" on the rack. Not so, unless you are willing to pay runway prices. *steps off soapbox*

Sabrina said...

Hi Black Girls! I actually think this particular model looks great thicker. Her face looks sunkin in now that she's all skinny....just my opinion.

I'm a commercial model and I love it! But even at a size 2/4...I"m not runway ready. Apparently hips and breasts are a no-go as well. But I love doing the commercial stuff.

The Fashion industry is slowly changing...maybe one size models will actually be plus sized, and not a regular size 8/10.

Niki said...

Crystal Renn has always been a "bad chick", but I agree that she has lost a bit of her diva swag--her face is kind of sunken in right now. Her figure looks great and I'm glad that she is at a weight she feels comfortable with, but I will still look to her old pictures with her dangerous curves as my figure inspiration.

edy said...

i really loved this article. i totally agree with you, cause as a size 8 i'm considered as too fat in fashion world and it makes me feel really bad, even knowing that most of girls my age are the same size.