July 8, 2012

Where have all the REAL men gone??

Fashion industry, I have a bone to pick with you.

For almost five years now I have supported you, raved about you, written about you and sometimes, only sometimes, salivated over you. I’ve used almost every positive adjective in the book, stayed with you despite of our different opinions and overcome certain things with you that I never thought possible (seeing Gianni Versace’s prints having such a big comeback for instance).

But, fashion industry, after seeing more men’s fashion shows in the last few weeks than I ever have done before – what with London Collections and then Paris fashion week – I really must admit I’m slightly disappointed with the lack of ‘real’ men showing off all these amazing clothes.

This isn’t some plea wrapped in gay humour, I’m not for a minute suggesting it is for my own benefit – hell knows I’ve seen enough hot male models to last me a life time – it’s rooted deeper than that.

It’s disturbing quite frankly. Concave stomachs, piercing collar bones, gaunt faces and legs that are ready to snap – is this really how we want our boys to look? The shows become less about the clothes and more about the gasps of shock at the super-skinny, tired looking ‘clothes horses’. I know I know, there’s a sample size, even for men, and designers are obliged to stick to this to show commerciality etc, but haven’t we come further than that?

Mark Fast, for his last few catwalk shows, has loaded his model cast with plus size women. It was deemed press worthy, generating columns and columns of coverage. We’d never seen it before (especially not in tight, spider-web knits). It was all Size Zero up until then. Fast slapped the fashion industry in the face, good and proper.

Then there was V magazine’s Size Issue in early 2010 which shook the Size zero debate to it’s very core, making it OK for magazines to feature bigger models. Which is exactly what Vogue Italia did for it’s June 2011 cover – featuringg Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley all voluptuous and curvy. In fact now, in 2012, Vogue published a statement promising it wouldn’t use underage or underweight models. You go girls.

So why, I ask, are there underweight men stomping slouching down almost all of the catwalks? It needs to be addressed. I for one am bored of seeing prepubescent, gangly, too-thin-it-hurts models parading down a runway, showing clothes that I am meant to buy into. It makes me want to look away.

I was sitting next to a model scout at one of the shows in London last month and she commented on a few of the men: ‘MUCH too thin’ or ‘Oh God, he needs to eat more’. This is coming from someone who represents these guys!

I used to be big. Very big. In fact at 18-years-old I was labelled super morbid obese, according to my BMI (Body Mass Index). I’ve lost almost ten stone in as many years, so this is coming from someone who has been plus size. To see bigger male models in a show would make me so happy. There must be one designer who wants to follow in Mark Fast’s footsteps?

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not insinuating that every fashion show should be full with plus size models. That would be ridiculous. It’s like saying all models should be blonde. But how about this… use some ‘REAL’ people on the catwalk? People that represent us as a nation rather than some other, quite frankly unnatural beings.

It’s funny that out of all of the men’s fashion shows I’ve sat through this season, and from all the images I’ve seen from international shows, it’s Versace’s men that were the ‘fullest’. Yes, their sculptured bodies defy almost every law of physics possible, but they looked like men, not slippery bits of spaghetti. When I met one of the designers for the House of Donatella, he actually said that men want looser-fitting clothes, that shapes are becoming bigger. He didn’t say that this meant the models would get smaller.

Come on fashion industry, let’s put some ‘real’ men back on the catwalk. Let’s try and leave the size zero men (because lovely reader, that is exactly what they are) at the door next season.


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