It is London Fashion Week this week so I find my eye drawn to lavish images of beautiful skinny white women appearing online and in the press. Now we all know this is not representative of us mere mortals and is nowhere near showing the wonderful ethnic diversity of Britain either. There have been some inroads on the catwalks in recent years to use black and Asian models but we need to see more and of all different shapes and ages too. As adults we can shrug this off with a jaded cynicism about what sells papers etc etc. But how does it affect our kids who are less savvy about the world?
My son isn’t interested in fashion magazines so is little affected by glossy airbrushing and impossible waistlines but he is part of the younger generation that is exposed to social media as we never were. This frightens me. A lot. I use social media for the business and it is invaluable for that, but I notice how much people’s lives online are edited to unreality. (I am guilty of this too, so I hold my hands up to it!) But looking at people’s feeds I sometimes wonder how I can ever live up to their happy, fun and glamourous lives. I am aware that people only project what they want us to see but I believe this plays into our insecurities as we think we are somehow not as good (or maybe that’s just me!)
Many teenagers now judge their popularity on how many ‘friends’ or followers they have on their social media channels, how many likes their posts get and so on. How much do these ideas of popularity and perfection effect things like body image and well-being? According to the UK charity Beat, eating disorders are on the rise and have risen 34% since 2005. 6.4% of adults in the UK are now diagnosed as having an eating disorder and 25% of those are male. Shockingly, as young as just 6 years old.
To give social media it’s due, there are some people out there in the online space challenging these ideas. Some models are now posting alternative photos to show their wobbly bits etc., which is just amazing! The make-up free selfie has also gone viral showing us all that beauty is often just smoke and mirrors. These platforms are helping to change the face of fashion itself and get more diversity and individuality on the catwalks and in the press. It gives us power to shout about what we do and don’t like so the big fashion houses, high street brands and magazines now have to listen or suffer the indignity of losing credibility.
To me fashion is about self expression, personality and individuality that should be celebrated and never judged. We are not all the same, we all have bits we don’t like but we are all deserve to be happy. This is what I would wish for my son and to all of you out there.
#Fashion #Beat #SelfImage