A month ago it was Top Shop this week it’s Gap that’s causing furor amongst fashion cognoscenti. But then again you would think fashion houses would have learned their lesson, but maybe the object isn’t necessarily to pay heed to what the community deems appropriate (after all they are the ultimate buyers) but to instead garner enough attention to their new wares. Which might be the new age of marketing. Create a fracas, get your mug on TV, and hope the extra press turns into extra sales. Welcome to marketing in the 2000’s but at your own peril think we…
That said, it’s time to explore what’s offended the fashion and media community this time (funny because by now it’s become the job of the media to offend the reader, but never mind if from time to time they in turn are offended…blah!).
dailymail.co.uk: Retail giant Gap has joined the ranks of Topshop and Vogue by being accused of promoting anorexia.
Gap’s Always Skinny jeans are raising the blood-pressures of some commentators who feel the mannequins modelling the range of jeans are too thin.
The backlash follows the publication of a set of images capturing mannequins with stick-thin legs inside one of London’s most popular Gap stores.
Skinny jeans and anorexic models. Sounds like it could be the title of a soon to be released late summer blockbuster. So why the furor? Is this Gap’s way of telling us that it too is into being skinny? Their way of letting us know that they too innately understand that we all want to be uber chic rascals slinking down fashion highway? Is that there way of saying if you dress like this you will certainly be loved or is just there way of saying ‘sorry but we’ve really haven’t been paying attention and we just realized offending your sensibilities although it may have worked last week is out of vogue this week. And anyway all we had in storage were these skinny mannequins so we were forced to make our new jeans rascal skinny. But hey for $19.99 $69.95(my how the prices of Gap have gone way up…) it’s a great deal…and hopefully it will make us a lot of money. But will it?
While fans of the jeans say they are ‘super-slimming,’ critics argue that the High Street behemoth should know better than to push an ‘anorexic’ agenda so publicly.
Which leads to the following question, what should fashion houses like the Gap know about their consumers? Surely they did a whole bunch of studies (yes just turn through any page of Vogue thank you very much…) that led them to the conclusion that skinny is in. That skinny is the ultimate high. That skinny is what will get you through the day. That being skinny will get you a quiet nod from the fashion elite?
Ms Taylor says ‘by promoting Always Skinny and these anorexic mannequins by the front door of their entrance onto the busiest shopping street in London, GAP is promoting an illness as something to aspire to.’
But then what are we aspiring to in society? Fame, longevity, adulation, timeliness a good time? How about integrity, wisdom, worldliness, sensitivity and compassion? Yes I know it’s just skinny jeans we’re talking about here, but me thinks society is a function of ‘eat rubbish, produce rubbish.’ Not that I am implying Gap is rubbish…(sort of…)
At the time, Helen Davies from the Anorexia charity Beat, said: ‘For girls to see pictures of models who are this thin suggests that it’s OK to be like that but it’s clearly not.’
Vogue magazine infamously uses size zero models on a regular basis, and Vogue US editor, Anna Wintour, once forced TV star Oprah Winfrey to slim down to an ‘acceptable size’ for a cover shoot.
Ultimately it probably comes down to the consumer being a tad clever and wise as to their own body type and not falling prey to the demands of a fashion industry which coddles manufactured aesthetics. But tell that to fashion houses and fashion editors who are probably too aware of the themes of anorexia but ultimately too aware it’s their bottom line they have to feed. Let’s see how this summer’s late blockbuster will fare, but personally I haven’t a hope in hell in fitting into those skinny jeans. Do you? I thought not…