Thursday, August 9, 2012
Will the public like unique models?
"Disability is largely ignored by the mainstream. Traditionally, fashion models have represented the 'ideal' of womanhood - they are taller and slimmer so that they can show off clothes to the maximum benefit. Being a clothes horse is not something most women could do very well." The fact is that fashion is a business and it is us, the consumers, who keep it thriving. Is it any wonder the industry sticks to a winning formula and largely shuns the idea of using bigger, more representational female models, let alone disabled models whose physical forms will be even more difficult to sell as aspirational? Yet maybe the BBC's reality show will make a difference. After all, fashionistas are always looking for something new, and disabled models are perfect to create intrigue and attract attention. "A disabled model, by definition, will be more memorable in a photo than an able-bodied girl, thus making her attractive to a commercial person trying to sell clothes in an advert, or in editorial," says O'Riordan. Her magazine will feature the programme's winner in a high-end fashion spread by world-renowned photographer Rankin. This gesture in itself would give any able-bodied model major kudos and guarantee further bookings, so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact this shoot will have on the future of the disabled model. After that, maybe, it's up to the public. Are they willing to prove their readiness to accept a different ideal of beauty by buying a magazine featuring a amputee model. It's our collective responsibility. If we want to see the fashion industry broaden its parameters, we must put our money where our mouth is.