Pulling a Mark Fast one?

Though talk of London Fashion Week is thoroughly over, my post-dinner carb bloat caused my sartorial thoughts wander back to the Mark Fast show. Having caused a renaissance of the size zero debate by featuring ‘plus-size’ girls (i.e. models without protruding ribs-cum-xylophones), sparking diva-style walk outs and the firing of Erica Kurihara, Fast’s stylist, I came to ponder the place of, shall I say, the ‘not-thin’ in the fashion industry.

Let’s be realistic here. I am hardly skeletal to the extent of looking like a musical instrument myself, but seeing the ‘atypically proportioned’ models featured in Fast’s show did not fill me with a sense of relief that the fashion industry had finally decided to accept those with love handles and diets consisting of more than Marlborough lights and espresso. In fact, I was largely disappointed at the feature of the size 12+ girls. Why? Mark Fast, though well known and worn by the London Pretty Young Things, on the more commercial ‘high street’ (Wintour forbid!) scale, is relatively unknown. Thus, models + booty and bangers = exposure = sales. Champion of body image? Or shameless self-promoter?
Judge me if you will, but Fast undoubtedly knew cankles on the catwalk would get column inches. “The industry” is for those who know how Rodarte is really pronounced, and those that have mastered the art of caloric fascism: it’s exclusive. And that is why you want a Herve Leger dress like an Ocean ticket on the last Friday of term. By featuring girls that look like the ‘average dress size in the UK’ it becomes just that – average.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a converted member of the church of Carine Roitfeld but the fashion industry is ridiculous. It dressed up Beth Ditto who, was she not incredibly talented and not to mention famous, would be described as morbidly obese. Even Karl Lagerfeld who sniffs at ‘fat mummies’ designed clothes for her to wear. Fashion adopted Ditto as the ‘token fatty’, like trying to prove it didn’t have an eating disorder by binge eating for a week; grotesque and outrageous. Hence, it will take more than a softly spoken Canadian knitwear designer to pull the ‘body image champion’ wool over our eyes. Fashion still loves its xylophones and, I predict, will continue to do so for many more Sashas and Gemmas to come.

Ayesha Zamal


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