Fashion industry under fire for “skeletal” model


Alex Perry’s booking of Cassi Van Den Dungen for his runway show caused outrage in April this year. Photo: ABC
Alex Perry’s booking of Cassi Van Den Dungen for his runway show caused outrage in April this year. Photo: ABC

Australian fashion brand Manning Cartell has garnered criticism after showcasing a model described as “emaciated to the point of looking skeletal.”

Journalist and founder of Mia Freedman said it’s not an attack on the model but an objective fact.

“How astonishing is it that nobody involved in this shoot stopped to say ‘this girl looks incredibly underweight,'” Ms Freedman wrote.

“‘The clothes literally bunch and hang off her emaciated limbs, child-like torso and non-existent hips. Is that the message we want to send to our customers and the world about our brand?.’”

However some readers defended and sympathised with the model.

“I look like the girl in the ad. Naturally. I eat, I exercise to keep strong and I just can’t gain weight. I find things like this so offensive. I’m sitting here now wondering if people think I’m sick…’or just stupid.’ I’m neither!” reader Lala wrote.

Freedman slammed the industry for promoting negative body images writing, “[The industry] images are designed to calibrate what we as a society see as glamorous and desirable…They’re saying they don’t care that they are participating in the perpetuation of dangerous, unhealthy, and irresponsible ideals.”

Ms Freedman’s criticisms of the fashion industry’s continuous disregard for promoting a negative body image are not unsubstantiated.

The Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders 2012 report estimated 913,986 people in Australia suffer from eating disorders, roughly 4% of the population.

The report also stated that people suffering from eating disorders and negative body image as a result also suffered other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

This is the second time this year the Australian fashion industry has come under fire for allowing the booking of models seen as unhealthily thin.

Australian designer Alex Perry caused outrage during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia for booking models that were described as “excessively thin”. Perry later admitted to a lapse in judgement for the choices.

If you feel you need help, advice or support with any of the aforementioned issues, don’t hesitate to call any of these numbers.

Butterfly national eating disorders support line: 1800 334 673

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids helpline: 1800 55 1800