It’s Day 5 of  London Fashion Week and we at FAB thought that the time is ripe to note a few things about the ‘Size Zero’ debate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statistically, only 5% of the population have this ‘Size 0’ body type naturally – and it is the size we see every day on ads, depicting what women should look like. Obviously, continually dieting to keep yourself skinny isn’t advisable and in the past few years this had led to death for some models.

 

22 year old Luisel Ramos died in 2000 from heart failure resulting from complications due to anorexia. Ramos was 5’9″ and weighed 97  pounds at the time of her death.

Luisel Ramos shortly before she died

 

 

Isabelle Caro, a French model whose emaciated image appeared in a shock Italian ad campaign in 2007, died at the age of 28 in December 2010. She was featured in the campaign by Italian photographer Oliviero Tosca under the headline “No Anorexia.” Images across newspapers and billboards showed Caro naked, vertebrae and facial bones protruding.

 

Isabelle Caro's 2007 Anti-Anorexia campaign

 

 

Ivonne Klein offers some relief from the stern tone often seen in the mainstream media when attempting to tackle women’s body issues.

 

Klein’s 2006 – 2007 series of photos ‘Thirty-two Kilos’ is a collection of digitally-altered photographs satirising the idea of ‘thinspiration’ and the ‘Pro Ana’ movement, which elevates anorexia and bulimia to the status of a new, positive lifestyle for young women.

 

Ivonne Thein's series 'Thirty-Two Kilos'

 

Traditionally, women of African heritage have been thought to have some protection from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa because of a greater acceptance of larger body sizes in the black community. A woman with a fuller body often meant that she was well off.

 

The on-going Dove Campaign for Real Beauty also agrees with the idea that it’s not necessary to be skinny to be beautiful, showing off fuller figured women and in a variety of shapes and sizes, celebrating ‘real’ women of ‘realistic’ sizes.

 

Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

 

As credible proof that healthy is hot and indeed most appealing, in the fashion industry, the most successful models are indeed slim, but there is more emphasis on a toned, healthy, ‘normal’ body rather than super-skinniness – despite a misconception that to be a model, one must be ultra slim or a ‘size zero’.

 

Vanity Fair spread from 2001 Front Row (l to r) : Gail O'neal, Karen Alexander, Shakara Ledard, Clara Benjamin Naomi Campbell, Iman, Second Row: (l to r) Kadra, Kara Young, Cynthia Bailey, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Beverly Johnson Third Row: (standing) (l to r:) Oluchi, Katoucha, Adia, Noemie Lenoir

 

In one historic snapshot, Vanity Fair photographer, Annie Leibovitz captured over 30 years of black beauty in the modelling industry from all around the globe. You’ll see no emaciated faces, protruding bones or waif like figures in this shot, which is indeed beautiful.

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