By Fay Elizabeth Schneider
It’s no secret that the world of high fashion has a dark side, tainted and starved. With such a high demand for fast paced creativity, there is born a love child between inky creative minds and the strife of perfection. Advertisements for centuries, ever since Queen Elizabeth I popularized the small wasted corset, have depicted frail women in confining clothes.
As we see the fashion culture commingle with that of youth, the most unfortunate repercussions of this feeble obsession come to pass: teenage eating disorders and depression. Most women have felt the sting of not measuring up, literally, to that of the beauty embraced by the highest authorities of style. Fortunately, most are able to conquer this by excepting for themselves the separation between women and models, as if 5’9 ladies with size 0 wastes create a different species all together. Still, these models suffer, in a truly shadowed beautiful sacrifice, all for fashionably artistic passion.
However, one must ask, why do we as a public obsess over these small stylings? Women are killing themselves in the name of fashion, as tragically beautiful as that is, it’s strange that a population of onlookers would encourage this kind of self-sacrifice, yet not embrace it themselves.
Flipping through the pages of the last few issues of some popular fashion magazines, it’s easy to see a common theme in some of the high fashion advertisements. The ladies of fashion are presented to the ladies reading in a manner comparable to being lost and scared in the woods. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman commented in her article on Saint Laurent’s use of these kind of ads, “For all the nonsense that some designers talk about loving “strong women”, “proud women”, “sexy women”, and blah di blah di flipping blah, it’s notable how fond these same designers are of putting women in clothes that specifically hobble them.”
Sometimes one must struggle for fashion, think of the chicest pair of heels in the average women’s closet, they are probably incredibly uncomfortable, but she wears them any way because it is a small sacrifice for style. What of that sacrifice when it begins to grow?
As women, we can be strong and embrace our full powerful potential, this doesn’t mean we have to all convert to extreme feminism, shave our heads, and burn our bras in the streets, but does mean that we have to stand by our foundations, and not succumb to gaunt temptations. For in the worlds of the greatly missed Alexander McQueen, “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment”.