Models and the Real Woman
But wait, Shock horror, the item doesn’t quite look on you as it does on the sample size model, so into the return envelope it goes or worse, to the back of the wardrobe it resides.
Assuming I wasn’t the only person living the order and return cycle; I conducted a survey on my blog, amongst friends and colleagues. Over 100 women answered the poll in total. They were asked:
Would you like to see clothing modelled by a variety of women? 98% answered YES
Have you ever ordered clothing online then found it was the wrong length for you? 96% answered YES
Have you ever NOT ordered an item of clothing online because you weren’t sure how it would look on you as opposed to the model? 90% answered YES
The results speak for themselves; the women modelling clothes we want to buy do not represent us. They are more often than not taller, slimmer and a different body shape. After numerous conversations it appeared that the impact of this issue ran a little deeper than creating a post office inconvenience so I asked the same women how seeing clothes looking so starkly different on models made them feel. The most impacting results came from a focus group run with a group of young parents. One young woman cried as she expressed that these images made her feel worthless and bigger than she was. Another said that she “could not bear to read women’s magazines anymore” because she could not meet the body shape they promoted.
The further I delve into this research the more shocking facts seem to emerge. Take this photograph, what do you see?
These are images taken from the HnM website and shown side by side by the Telegraph. Did you spot that both models have identical bodies with different skin tones and heads? Yes, HnM are using computer generated models to show off their range. Not even Kate Moss cuts the mustard anymore so how can we, the humble customer, wear any of these clothes?
There are exceptions you will be pleased to hear. Beautiful plus size model Tara Lynn is shapely with the odd roll to boot, Tara has modelled for Glamour, Vogue and Elle but why isn’t she and others like her all over High Street Brands websites?
Asos curve offer truly fashionable clothes to the plus sized population which is fantastic and revolutionary. Their models however barely push a size 14, they also tend to use the same models for most of the range.
Women are all unique, every curve and dimple is slightly different. There will never been one true representation of anyone but there must surely be a compromise. As a blog writer myself I’m always flicking through Curvy Fashionistas blogs like Lilybobombslovelylumps, Cupcakeclothes or Boombands. These women are inspirational and beautiful, wearing High Street Fashion to show the world how it looks on the average gal.
Browse the web to find a Fashionista who represents you or be a part of changing the way we buy clothes. There appeared to be a gap in the market which combined women of every shape, size and skin tone in one location. Much research, work and time later WalkInWardrobia seemed to offer a solution. WalkInWardrobia is a user lead site which allows users to upload pictures of them wearing clothes they have recently purchased. Users can tag their size, skin tone and leave a review as well as search by these categories. WalkInWardrobia is designed to help boost confidence in the average women who may never have dared to wear an item before because they were afraid it would look terrible. It’s deigned to stop the buy and return cycle of online shopping and to encourage Brands to start using a variety of models on their own sites.
Change can and will happen but it’s vital that we push for it. Write or tweet to your favourite Brand and ask them why they don’t use women who are your size, write articles like this one to newspapers and magazines, vote with your feet by not buying from Brands you know discriminate against Curvy or plus size women and when a company does use a universal model be sure to praise them.