Why designers are to blame for body image issues - brace yourself.

As a designer I have fallen into a trap, along with most others. That trap is a bottomless pit of materialistic, fear driven, judgemental and often selfish motives. I want to say sorry.

Before I knew it was was going from starting up an accessories label to showcasing on an international runway. It has been and continues to be a wild ride, a very intense and busy ride. I am mostly making it up as I go along. I have fallen victim to a few things that have really come to the surface lately and as someone with body image issues you'd think I would know better. However I was honestly blissfully unaware, until it metaphorically slapped me in the face. 

Last week I was sketching up my next solo runway show. Playing with designs and outfits. My sketches were of the samples I would have on runway and included accessories (obviously) and also dramatic dresses, tops and trousers with crazy wings, trains and cuts. 

You see, we like to blame media for body image issues but the culture and practice of fashion is that we (designers) make samples, showcase them on the runway then media picks it up and showcases it to the public. So pointing the finger at media, although convenient, is not entirely correct. Sure they have a huge part to play but it started with designers, it started with me.

The standard practice is that you have samples made in a small (don't ask me why). You then need models to fit those samples for the runway so you put in your request with the runway show. The show finds you models or you find your own, your models do their thing, photographers snap your collection and you are interviewed and ask in for photoshoots. You realise your onto something and see which designs were most popular, then you start production in all the sizes. 

So before the product even makes it to media the designers have decided what their look will be and therefore what image will be portrayed. Then men, women and children fall prey to what we have decided is popular and fashionable. People just like my little niece are being bombarded with images of what their body should look like, images that I had a huge part in creating. F**k.

Designers have a huge responsibility to portray a healthy body image. Although it feels like I am going against the grain and therefore fear loosing customers and stockists (because people don't usually like different, or so we are told) I am wanting to create a healthy world that celebrates diversity instead of scolding it. 

So world, I am sorry. I will do better. 

Katie xx

 


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