Skinny and svelte Victoria Beckham, whose diet consists of edamame beans, frozen grapes, steamed fish and raw vegetables, thinks that her size-4 figure represents the average woman's. Some women might beg to differ with that assessment.
In the Jubilee issue of Harper's Bazaar UK, Victoria Beckham told the fashion magazine that, since becoming a fashion designer, she wears her designs to become more in touch with her customer. While designing the clothing for her line, Beckham tries on the clothes to evaluate the frocks for those very customers.
We always joke that we have this fabulously gorgeous 17-year-old model who is six-foot-whatever and then I say 'OK, I'm going to put it on. I stand for the general public here.' It's how I work, Victoria Beckham told Harper's Bazaar UK.
However, while she was pregnant with her daughter she could not try on the clothes like she used to. I found it really difficult when I was pregnant and I couldn't do that. It's part of the process - I'll stand here in my knickers and start draping fabric over myself. It was very hard when I didn't have my body.
After the 37-year-old's Bazaar interview hit newsstands, some took issue with her comments about representing the general public.
The average British woman wears a size-16, reported the Daily Mail, adding that many of those same women cannot afford to buy one of Beckham's decadent designs, many of which are priced in the thousands. The Daily Mail stated that, on the contrary, Beckham is a UK size-6 or a US size-4.
In 2009, the L.A. Times reported that the average U.S. woman was 162.9 pounds and wore a size-14. The L.A. Times writer Emili Vesliind described how designers catered to thin, size-0 through size-6 women.
The relationship between the fashion industry and fuller-figure women is at a standoff, marked by suspicion, prejudice and low expectations on both sides, Vesliind wrote, The fear of fat is so ingrained in designers and retailers that even among those who've successfully tapped the market, talking plus-size often feels taboo.
In January, ABC News reported that these measurements have not changed. Half of women in the U.S. currently wear a size 14 or larger.
That same month, PLUS Model magazine released a pictorial of model Katya Zharkova who is considered a plus-size model. Yet, she represents the average woman (sorry, Victoria).
Here are the detailed statistics:
- Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.
- Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction.
- Most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia.
- 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, but most standard clothing outlets cater to sizes 14 or smaller.
Small women cannot be marketed to with pictures of plus-size women, why are we expected to respond to pictures of small size 6 and 8 women? We don't! When the plus size modeling industry began, the models ranged in size from 14 to 18/20, and as customers we long for those days when we identify with the models and feel happy about shopping, wrote PLUS Model magazine's editor-in-chief Madeline Figueroa-Jones.
The tide may be turning for plus-size fashionistas.
London-based designer Mary Katrantzou is poised to launch a plus-size line of her ornate, printed designs for Net-a-porter, according to Vogue UK.
Net-a-porter.com asked us if we would go bigger [to a size 16] and we would - we had a discussion with them, Katrantzou told the Evening Standard. I buy online - I think as a bigger size, you feel more comfortable trying things at home. With the interiors [her spring/summer 2011 collection, featuring prints of homewares], we just added more information. So, on a size 8, you get the sofa, the mantelpiece and the flower, whereas on a size 14 you get the sofa, the mantelpiece, the bush and the room next door.
Currently, on Net-a-porter's website, there is a plethora of options from designers like Lanvin, Tory Burch, Gucci, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg that offer XL, XXL and XXXL sizes. However, the largest size available is a US size-12. Victoria Beckham's designs go up to a US size-10.
I was looking at a size 14 woman wearing our dress and I thought, 'I can't believe we don't go bigger than that size!' because she looked tiny, said Katrantzou. Sometimes designers are blamed for not going to a size 16, but it's not that: it's that there isn't demand [from buyers]. So I think if buyers were more brave to try it for a couple of seasons, they would sell more and designers would produce more.
Katrantzou's celebrity fans run the gamut from Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to hipster style icon Alexa Chung.
I don't know about bigger - no one has asked about a size 18. You get into different trouble: you might have designed it differently because then the body shape is different, she told the Evening Standard. You wouldn't want the typewriter [referring to her autumn/winter 2012-13 collection] to be there [she gestures to her chest area] on a size 20 - we would need a lot more thought about the prints.
Victoria Beckham, you are absolutely fabulous; but the average woman you are not.