This mannequin caught my eye last week, but not for any of the reasons that the fashion brand Sisley would have wanted. There was something very strange about it: those black leggings for starters seemed oddly inappropriate in the mid-August heat of Sorrento, Italy, where the very lightest of loose cottons are de rigeure. Still, we are accustomed to fashion being out of sync with the seasons, so it surely wasn’t that that made me stop and stare. Was it the rest of the outfit then? But no, no strong or controversial fashion statement being made there.
What really shocked me were the silhouettes of those legs, accented against the light floor and furnishings of the interior. They were so thin, so painfully thin, certainly much thinner than any I have ever seen before.
A great deal has been said and written in just the last few weeks about the use of anorexic looking mannequins, and what this says to impressionable teenagers in particular. In the UK in July this year, Primark were caught using mannequins with protruding ribs and after public pressure via Twitter they agreed to change their display. La Perla faced similar negative press earlier this year in New York. So why do we still see a major brand like Sisley using mannequins like these? How do we prevent the international fashion industry using such wholly inappropriate images of women?
I have to express my interest in this issue. A member of my close family is recovering from anorexia and I know it to be an ugly and frightening illness. There is much that is wrong in the world, but I think we do our children a great disservice if we do not stand up and say that this is unacceptable and that we want it changed.
Do you agree?
You can find more posts submitted to WordPress’ weekly photo challenge on the theme of Silhouettes here.
Beat provides helplines, online support and a network of UK-wide self-help groups to help adults and young people in the UK beat their eating disorders.