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Fashion Industry & Body Image

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Chloe Bubion

on 26 July 2016

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Transcript of Fashion Industry & Body Image

What is body image?
Body image
is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind
Fashion Industry & Body Image
Body Image
What you believe about your own appearance
including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations
How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight
How you sense and control your body as you move
How you feel in your body not just about your body
Body image
is a topic that is constantly running through the minds of American women. The unrealistic ideal body image stems from different sources, the
fashion industry
being one of the most influential.

How Does the Fashion Industry Influence Body Image?
The fashion industry puts out unrealistic images of how men and women should look.
These images and messages are seen throughout our everyday lives through media and advertisements. It has become harder for consumers to escape being influenced when the same body typed is portrayed throughout industry campaigns.
There is a mediated norm for body image in present-day culture, and it is characterized by bodies that are extremely thin (Hendricks & Burgoon, 2003).
What is thin ideal?
The phrase "thin ideal" refers to media that contains noticeably thin female characters, such as fitness and fashion magazines and television programs.
Thin-ideal media promote the idea that thinness is an advantageous attribute and ascribe the attribute to the most "beautiful, desirable, and successful protagonists (Harrison, 2000, p.121).
Women who are exposed to heavy amounts of high thin-idea media are likely to accept this as a norm. With more exposure to slender figures portrayed by the fashion industry, women and men alike are being influenced at a very young age.
Types of Body Image
Positive Body Language
Negative Body Language
When you have a
perception of your body as a whole as well as the various parts
Having a
perception of your size and shape
How Thin-Ideal Effects Consumers
fashion industry
has always set
for women to
themselves after, yet over the last 100 years- even its standard has changed.
Body Ideal Standards in the Fashion Industry
The "Gibson Girl"
"Voluptuous" bust
Wide Hips
Achieved by corseting, pinching the waist & torso
"The Flapper"
Fashion was androgynous and scandalous
Thin & straight
Larger busts frowned upon
Ideal thinness
drove women to diet and exercise
1930s & 1940s
"Fashion in Wartime"
Traditional style back to women's fashion and body image
Wore longer skirts that fell at natural waistline
Attire trended toward
Aspired to become more
and emphasize feminine figure
Advertisements told women how to avoid a "too skinny" look

voluptuous hourglass
Figures influenced by culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe


Influenced by culture icons like
Audrey Hepburn
Mod Fashion

Designed for
" Thin is In "
Extreme Dieting

Introduction of
anorexia nervosa
Increased use of
diet pills
" Supermodels & Hard Bodies "
Influenced by celebrity workout and exercise videos
Increased emphasis on
"Heroin Chic & Baywatch Bodies"
look yet with
large breasts

High fashion emphasized "waif look" and "heroin chic"
Models had a
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" - Kate Moss
is still "in"
Victoria's Secret Models
flat stomach
Long skinny legs
Large Bust
Thigh Gaps
Size 0 & 00
Stores, designers, and brands all have a specific target market.

Some try to exclude consumers that do not fit their version of the "ideal body" by offering limited sizes and styles.
Abercrombie & Fitch


CEO, Mike Jefferies has made controversial statements and decisions to make sure that his company's image holds up to his ideal body image
“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong” - Mike Jefferies
The ideal is not only set in place for customers, but employees as well. The "good looking" employees that work in the front are called "models", and the "less attractive" employees who work in the back "impact"
A&F only offers sizes XS-L, and jeans up to size 10. Customers outside of its target audience can no longer shop at A&F, which generates negative body image
In a response when asked by a Bloomberg TV reporter about consumer complaints related to “pilling” fabric in the yoga pants, CEO Chip Wilson blatantly stated that there is an ideal customer for Lululemon.
“Frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [wearing Lululemon pants]… it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it,” - Chip Wilson
Vanity Sizing
The act of assigning smaller measurements and sizes to articles of clothing
This design strategy can make a woman who typically wears a size 12, wear a size 10 or 8
Vanity sizing psychologically affects consumers because they think that they are skinnier than they really are. Many will pay more for a smaller size, which ultimately benefits the retailer and increases sales
Eating Disorders

Constantly being exposed to fashion ads featuring a thin body ideal, women have been going to dangerous lengths to achieve "the perfect body"
Anorexia Nervosa
- An emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat
Bulimia Nervosa
- An eating disorder in which a large quantity of food is consumed in a short period of time, often followed by feelings of guilt or shame.
24 million
people in the US suffer from an eating disorder
Only 10%
seek professional help
Plus Size Models and Clothing
Although a majority of the mediated messages from the fashion industry contain a thin body ideal, some designers are making strives in including all body types in their advertisements and target audience
Stores are beginning to offer a wider variety of sizes in merchandise,yet many designers are hesitant to create plus size lines because of potential harm to brand image.
Designers are wary of making plus size lines because more material will make it more expensive to make, and therefore will be a higher cost for plus size consumers compared to those who wear a smaller size
The fashion industry is making progress to reset standards of the body ideal, yet by featuring plus size models less than extremely thin models and charging more for plus size clothing, the industry is still pushing for women to conform to its idea of the perfect body
Enough is Enough
The fashion industry negatively influences women's body image. The industry should use its power to encourage women to embrace their body type by featuring models of different body types. In effect, woman's perceived body image could be positively shaped, reducing the number of eating disorders fueled by images in the fashion industry
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