The Women’s Equality Party, the group behind the #NoSizeFitsAll campaign has called on the British Fashion Council to lead the way in promoting a healthy body image at the London Fashion Week, which is starting on the 15th September.
They are calling for designers to show at least two sample sizes at the event, with one of them being a UK size 12 or above. A UK size 12 is considered to be ‘plus size’ by the industry, with typical sample size clothing – worn by models on the catwalk – being a UK size 4, or US size 0.
A typical size four has a waist of just 23 inches, and hips of just 33 inches, while a size 14 – the size most commonly worn by UK women – has a waist of 31 inches, and hips of 41 inches.
The WEP are aiming to tackle the growing numbers of women and girls who suffer from eating disorders by going to “the root of the problem”, sample sizes from fashion designers. “Designers churn out sample sizes so small that models have to starve themselves to fit into them,” said the WEP.
Sophie Walker, leader of the WEP, explained that 28 studies across the UK, Europe, North America, and Australia have found that images in the media showing models have a direct impact on how women view their own bodies, and that negative body image puts someone at considerably heightened risk of developing an eating disorder.
Research from the eating disorder charity Beat suggests that over 725,000 people in the UK are affected by the disorders, with a shocking 89% of these being female.
In 2009, Vogue’s editor in the UK, Alexandra Shulman, criticised fashion houses for sending sample clothes too small even for models to wear, but Ms Walker said that the fashion industry has been “very very reluctant to move on this.”
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said: “The #NoSizeFitsAll campaign addresses three key issues around image, cost to public health and body image.
“This is something that we take very seriously and we support a campaign that raises awareness around public health and promotes a positive perception around body image and eating disorders in schools around the country.”