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Robin Givhans defends Karl Lagerfeld because “We Hate What We are Becoming-FAT”

Editor and journalist, Robin Givhan defends Karl Lagerfeld's comments about plus size women and we talk about why these comments are damaging.

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Fashion editor for the Washington Post, Robin Givhan, wrote a feature piece today that irked the hell out of me. What got me riled up was partially because she could be onto something, and the other part because this cycle is too frustrating- the juxtaposition of and relation between Fat and Fashion.

The lovely and fiercely fashionable peeps over at The Fashion Bomb posted an article today about her comments and position Robin Givhan’s takes on the recent uproar and media sensation with being thin.

See, Robin Givhan’s article takes the stance that former curvy designer, Karl Lagerfeld and his comments were right.

From Robin Givhan’s Article on Karl Lagerfeld

All those emaciated models have to be seen against the backdrop of a population that is overwhelmingly afflicted with obesity. It has to be viewed in the context of a first lady who has taken up the cause of healthy eating and exercise because nearly one in three children in the United States is either overweight or obese.

The fatter the general population, the thinner the idealized woman. And for all the public posturing and blogging, the only force that stopped people from buying clothes and magazines was the souring economy, not righteous indignation over skinny models.

By its very nature, fashion is a business of falsehoods and costumes, all in service to self-definition. The uncomfortable truth about the fashion industry is it has a knack for tapping into unspoken cultural obsessions and taboos. Fashion sets up a rarefied world of perfection that is, in many ways, defined by how much it differs from the mundane, from the norm. And all indicators suggest that as a culture, we hate what we are becoming: fat.”



Excuse me for a moment why I gather my thoughts:

Really? Is this the reason why I have to go on a hunt for the latest and flyest in fashion? Because the world is getting fatter?

While I respect the ideologies and perspectives represented, let me put on my M.B.A. in Marketing hat on so that I can understand this:

Although there is, an extremely high demand for more fashionable pieces in sizes that reflect the average woman, designers would rather create a scarcity of high fashion to ostracize anyone with curves.

In addition, rather than succumbing to a reality where beauty, fashion, and size could all be celebrated and received, we inevitably have created this fantasy that every fat girl wants to be- a size 2?

I have to stop. I want to know what you think about this!

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Written by Marie Denee

I am the Editor in Chic of The Curvy Fashionista. Often goofy. Forever emo. Always a Virgo. You can find me somewhere grooving to 90s R&B.

What do you think?


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  1. Well in this case it is those that think that fashion is about fantasy that are the problem. I don’t believe for one minute that emaciated models that are about to die represent what the average person aspires to.

  2. I feel it comes down to class and wealth, at the end of the day. I think fashion always reflects the wants and needs of the elite and filthy rich. Right now, no matter what your body looks like naturally if you have the money, time and means, then you can maintain thinness at all cost. High fashion is for high money, so for most high fashion designers the argument that their size restrictions and usage of extremely thin models only is completely irrelevant. They’re not designing for the average woman, they are designing for the women rich enough to maintain that particular shape. And as long as they can afford it, fashion will never change.

    The best thing we can do is just look on in inspiration, and then rip the bastards off!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Interlude =-.

  3. High fashion is about fantasy.

    Fashion for the majority, the “plus” population, has traditionally had a more practical bent to it. What we are struggling with right now, at this particular point in fashion history is a longing for the majority to get a piece of that fantasy.

    There are many many “plus” women in America that are “rich enough” “pretty enough,” and “glamorous enough” to be a part of the high fashion world and those women want an attainable piece of that fantasy.

    You are right that scarcity creates demand. In the case of high fashion, unfortunately the way they choose to represent scarcity is on the bodies of probably anorexic teenagers and this also sends THE WRONG MESSAGE.

    In contrast, the Plus world has more practical goals. We want to see women who have healthier bodies. We want to see women who have a positive self image. Yet these wants are conflicting with the current high fashion ideals. This is the tug that we are feeling.

    One possible solution would be to encourage the high fashion world to crate that scarcity / fantasy world in a different way: not use the bodies or probably anorexic teenagers, but use still-gorgeous more real-sized women in clothes and settings that are still impossibly expensive, and impractically creative as they are now. This is this compromise we are looking for and fighting for.

  4. These fashion people are sick! What they are really praising is drug addiction and mental illness. The last thing they want is for everyday women to feel beautiful, the last thing they want is for us to feel good about ourselves. If we do, they risk loosing out on selling a the fantasy. This industry doesn’t care about the messages of destruction they send to young girls, they love it, they thrive on it! MONSTERS! I’m so sick of it! In this new age, the real women will rule! The time is up on the anorexic cokehead and I couldn’t be happier!

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