Is the era of the thin, bland and "perfect" model coming to a close? A story in Newsweek points to the popularity of images of "real people" and street fashion, thanks to blogs like The Sartorialist, or compilations like New York magazine's The Look Book. Says Simon Rogers of modeling agency Ugly New York: "I definitely think there's some backlash amongst people who see fashion shows, then read stories about how the models have to smoke themselves to death and only drink lemon water for six weeks." Lycra staged a swimsuit runway show at last year's Miami Swim Fashion Week and used women of all shapes and sizes to hit the catwalk. But swimwear is one thing; Marc Jacobs is something else. And although the author of the piece, Jennie Yabroff, points out that the new Ben Sherman ads shot by photoblogger Merlin Bronques feature hipsters instead of models and a recent episode of Ugly Betty had a runway show with nonprofessional models, what are the chances the fashion industry will actually pay any attention to this so-called trend?
As refreshing as it would be to see fewer emaciated Eastern European teens and more healthy, powerful, glamazons, isn't fashion about exclusivity? The masses may be able to comment on The Sartorialist and buy an Isaac Mizrahi dress from Target, but fashion itself is not democratic. Isn't a brand's quality, high price and limited supply park of what make it special? Don't high fashion lines want to be just-out-of-reach to the average woman? And therefore, doesn't it make sense that the models would embody an out-of-reach ideal? Then again: How would you feel if a major player like Gucci, Zac Posen or Marc Jacobs suddenly started using "real" women — beautiful but with healthy, closer to average bodies? Would you go out of your way to support a designer who dared to exhibit a new ideal?
Rise Of the Real People [Newsweek]