Topshop Boutique trousers | Asos top | Office shoes | Mulberry handbag |
Next necklace* | Nixon watch | My Flash Trash ring*
Photographs by Hanna Kristina
I've been sitting at my laptop for days now, attempting to rewrite this post so it will cause the least amount of offence possible but no matter which way it is phrased, there's no skirting around that when it comes vocalising any opinion on weight and fashion, there will always be confliction and individuals who feel discriminated against. So, I'll just come out and say it. I disagree in almost every way with the size 16 mannequins that can now be found sporting the latest collections on the shop floors of Debenhams. Including this discussion in an outfit post may also seem a little ironic but these are the posts where I have the time and space to let loose a little.
Are the mannequins refreshing? Yes. Are they surprising? Yes, but perhaps not quite as much as if the mannequins were being introduced into highstreet retailers Topshop or Zara. Most importantly though, are they finally portraying a healthy body image to consumers? The very straightforward answer to that is no, and this is what is most frustrating.
In the UK, the average statistics for women are 5'3", 11st and a dress size 16. A new tab opened and a quick Google search later clarifies that these figures rack up a huge BMI of 27.3. For those of you who aren't so au fait with how BMI works, any figure that comes in below 18 and above 25 is deemed unhealthy. There can be and are exceptions to the rule obviously (BMI calculations were not made to assess the few body builders among us) but by and large, it's a reasonably accurate measure of how healthy your body weight is for your height.
A size 8 or 10 mannequin may be an unrealistic representation of the population as a whole but, unlike Debenham's new mannequins, at least it represents a weight that falls within the healthy spectrum. The size 16 mannequins are promoting and advocating being overweight. There are serious complexities linked with being overweight that can not, and should not, be ignored.
Please don't get the wrong impression here, I'd argue just as hard if size 4 or 6 mannequins began popping up. It is, of course, promising to see retailers moving more towards the real but our real here in the UK simply isn't healthy. Nevertheless, that's a whole other issue in itself, isn't it?