Why thin isn't in

FASHION WORLD

Big is now beautiful on the international catwalk. Are winds of change blowing across India too or is Kareena’s size-zero still an ideal with models, actors, and more importantly designers?

This is a question many an Indian girl would like answered.

Every girl who has been haunted by the ‘tall, fair and slim’ stereotype knows and understands the double standards of beauty that are set by our society. She certainly does not need the impossible size added to her ‘triple targets’. What with impractical weight goals set by models and Bollywood idols many an Indian girl has now started starving herself to reach impossible goals. The beauty and fashion industry has been blamed for fuelling this trend. What do they have to say in defense?

Shyamal Shodhan of the label Shyamal & Bhumika says, “Indian wear is more suited to curvy body shapes. Anorexic models don’t work for Indian wear at all. Designers who make Indian wear, especially bridal garments, require models with a good build and curves as Indian clothes don’t really look good on really thin models. As far as ramp models are concerned we are sent the model measurements much before the show fittings and so we accordingly size as per the measurements of each model.  On an average I think Indian models are not too skinny and they maintain a good balance.”

Vivek Karunakaran, fashion designer says, “ The Indian gene pool is very different from the Europeans who do a lot of high end futuristic fashionista shoots which have a high fashion feel. Our body type is completely different. We need to work twice as had to maintain that body because have a tendency to put on weight at the wrong places. Size zero is just a size and as such it should be treated like that. The moment we give it too much attention turns into a trend, which is unhealthy especially for us Indians. We send out the wrong message. The average consumer always looks up to and wants to follow what a fashion glossy and a fashion designer have put together. Anyone who has a social responsibility -- whether it is fashion magazines, fashion designers or fashion bodies -- should took take a collective stand to treat this like any other size, not an ideal. When we do a shoot we choose a model who fits the bill.”

Indrani Dasgupta, supermodel, says: “This size variation, especially the skinny trend does not really apply to the Indian designers. Designers here are more real and they adhere to certain sizes. End of the day they know who their customers are and the Indian woman has to go a long way before they can think of looking as thin as that. Plus I think this is just a phase and will pass. When I last modelled for an international show the look that one was looking for was athletic slim and now it’s more ‘Cocaine Chic’ aka Kate Moss. It will also pass. When you are a model you have to follow the look to a certain extent. You are paid to look a certain way.

“But there is something very wrong in the kind of messages that go out with this look as young girls try and emulate the look. Now it’s a question of who can outdo this look. Also I have noticed that the younger models don’t really concentrate on eating healthy and staying slim. Their idea of what is cool is different now. It is more about not eating and not exercising hence they don't have the energy to do more which is unhealthy. But Indian fashion designers have their sizes right. If they are looking for a certain look then they would call a certain model who fits that look.”

Dietician Sheela Krishnaswamy says, “I have noticed this to be more prevalent amongst teenagers/ models who try and mimic their role models.  But thankfully the media has given enough space to creating awareness about the downfall of this dangerous and mostly unachievable trend. This was just a fad and like all other fads is already beginning to lose its charm. There will always be that one person who wants to look like her idol but on an average our youth and models are very aware and realise that they don't need to be skin and bones to be successful. We need to start being more comfortable with ourselves and accept our bodies as they are. Being fit and healthy is more important. Hopefully this fad should die a quicker death with the youth than their idols in the modelling and film world.”

In India even though ‘fair, tall and slim’ have been the epitome of beauty for a long time the average Indian woman knows that it is an aspiration. Today’s women especially are more comfortable in their own skin and are smarter. They are aware that this is a marketing trap. But this preset idea of beauty has been used to leverage the weakness or various complexes of women, time and again to propel a profitable business and finds its way into the hearts and minds of the staunchest of feminists. Even today the smartest of women tend to fall prey to attain some part of ‘fair, tall and slim’. The skinny fad is just another fad…albeit a mentally and physically dangerous one for the youth of today. While internationally the designers will point out that the trends exist hence the supply has been created for a certain ‘look’ the models will argue that the demand is there hence the supply for the look is being created. Thankfully, Indian designers and the models are far wiser. Hopefully, the trend should die a natural death before it causes irreparable damage to the younger models and the youth.

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