One of the reasons we at The Gloss are such fans of supermodel Crystal Renn – besides the fact that she is incredibly talented and stunning in like, a million ways — is how candid she is regarding the fashion industry. Rather than tiptoeing around the issues she has faced as a plus-size, then less-than-plus-size model, she fully admits that there are ridiculous biases against women who are not standard size models. On Monday, she commented on yet another big problem: the standard sample size for a designer dress is a 0.
When designers create samples, they reflect the size of the most models. These days, that size is a 0, so the standard sample size is therefore a 0. Despite the numerous calls for size 0 models to become less of the norm and more of the exception, the actual change has been slow and reluctant.
In a panel set up by National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and the Model Alliance at Pace University earlier this week, Crystal Renn spoke about body image and fashion. The panel (“Inside The Modeling Industry: A Conversation About Health And Beauty In Fashion”) also included fellow models Katharine Schuette and Amy Lemons, eating disorder specialist Dr. Evelyn Attia, former model turned assistant professor of sociology Ashley Mears and modeling agent Chris Gay.
Renn called on the fashion industry to swap size 0 sample sizes for a size 8 standard:
“By having a size 8 sample, you are giving freedom to a designer. Most of the models are going to be size 6s and 8s, and you could have 10s, and if a really amazing model walked in who was a size 0, you would tailor the dress down to her.”
I regular go from a size 8 up to a size 12 and back, as well as having been on both sides of the spectrum beyond that range. One of the most frustrating things to me about the fashion industry is how incredibly rare it is that anybody’s bodies look remotely like mine. It’s not all that unique; I have wide hips, a kind of small-ish waist, wide ribcage/big boobs, and thinner legs, but the closest that comes to mind is Daisy Lowe, and she is still quite a bit slimmer than I. While there are more and more plus-size models out there, they still don’t represent my body shape; most are over a size 12 or over, so women between a 6 and a 12 are still underrepresented. Considering the average American woman is between a 12 – 14, and so, so many women elsewhere are between a 4 and 10, I have a feeling there’d be a pretty positive reaction in many circles regarding a change like Renn’s suggestion.
Having all sample sizes be a size 8 would be kind of magical for women like myself who have never felt like the folks in fashion care about clothes that might fit her body or find bodies like hers beautiful. Obviously, most sizes over a 4 aren’t represented regularly in the industry, but I suppose it would just be nice to look up at a billboard one day and see a woman whose figure resembles like mine.
Unfortunately, this would also require change in an industry that regularly Photoshops women to the point of being unrecognizable and has such a dubiously strict standard of beauty that fights change at every turn. That said, there has been an increasing amount of non-standard size models working for major campaigns. While that number is still incredibly low, women like Renn and Robyn Lawley are helping to alter the idea of what’s “alternative beauty” versus what’s just plain beautiful. And the more models and industry folk who discuss this issue, the harder the push for change will be. So, thanks Crystal Renn — you’re awesome, and you look really, really good in that dress.
Photo: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com