Two weeks ago, Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan suggested the fashion industry was exhibit A for why industry cannot regulate itself. She’s back at it again with a new angle to her complaint: the “excuses for hiring super-skinny models are wearing thin.” Yet even within her story, Givhan cited a designer who has trouble selling larger sizes of her fashions.
“If anyone ever needed evidence of why industries should not be allowed to police themselves, the Council of Fashion Designers of America just provided it,” the Post fashionista wrote in the January 19 paper.
Givhan went on to deride the CFDA’s six-point health guidelines as “pure mumbo jumbo that outlined educational workshops and the importance of eating your vegetables.”
Poking her head out from the Post Style desk in a Groundhog Day story, Givhan forecast a long winter of her discontent.
“Those in the fashion industry offer this reassurance: The pendulum will swing the other way. In due time, the industry will celebrate a more athletic ideal,” Givhan complained in her February 2 Style section article.
“This is discussed as if it will magically happen – as if an outside force beyond the control of the industry will determine when that shift will occur,” she sighed, concluding that “change may be a long time coming.”
Yet while Givhan slammed the fashion industry and its preference for models who can squeeze into a size 2 – the “average runway sample” in the early 1990s was a size 6, she told readers – she missed the consumer market that drives it.
Givhan insisted that “as the models have gotten thinner, the general population has gotten fatter,” but in the very next paragraph, she reported that designer Tracy Reese has had a hard time selling the larger sizes in her fashion line at her boutique.
“When Reese opened her first free-standing store last spring in New York, she offered sizes 2 to 12. She was prepared to expand to 14. Instead the demand was for size 0. Her best-selling size is 4,” Givhan wrote.