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Sunday, 11 October 2009

German Fashion Magazine Goes Model-Less

Flipping through a favorite fashion magazine has long been a beloved pastime of fashion mavens around the world, and cozying up with the latest collections of clothes, celebrities, shopping leads, and fashion-related editorials will likely be a hobby for scores of people for many years to come. But the way in which fashion and beauty are presented in magazines may be in for quite a change. Recently, the lofty world in which such publications reside has been turned on its side somewhat by accusations that an overabundance of images of unhealthily thin, airbrushed, and otherwise altered women is having a negative effect on the mental health and well-being of the population at large, and among young women and girls in particular. The short version? Too many picture-perfect models are making readers feel bad about themselves.
With the advancement and diversification of media, especially in the fashion world, critics wonder whether the adherence to unrealistic looks has gone beyond the artistic and entered into the realm of the insane. As a result, several seemingly shocking suggestions and initiatives have been announced, all in an attempt to take the therapy bill out of an afternoon fashion mag read.
The popular magazine Elle has made a valiant effort in this direction by recently publishing an issue without makeup or digital alterations, a bold move for a mag with a large and diverse readership. While the issue was highly praised among advocates of natural beauty and many readers chimed in on their support, the prompt return to the status-quo of airbrushing and whisper-thin waists makes the issue look like more of a concession than a cause for feeling good.
In what has been characterized as a somewhat more radical move, a piece of French legislation has recently been produced that, if made into a law, would require warning text to be included with altered images to inform readers about the “surreality” of the pictures, akin to the EU's proliferation of warning labels on packages of cigarettes. Taking a bit of extra initiative, a successful German fashion magazine has recently announced plans to stop publishing pictures of models altogether; while purchased advertisements may still feature idealized figures and the forgiving nuances of Photoshop, its covers and features will include friends, family members, and those working as its employees, a decision which has drawn ample amounts of praise and incredulity alike.
Whether the German mag Brigitte manages to change the way that women think about fashion magazines, it is clear that the industry will experience a push towards better representation of the female figure as found in nature. Of course, these initiatives may also simply give rise to a divide between two very different types of fashion magazines; one which is progressive, and the other, stuck in the past. Or would it be a divide between the amateur, pop culture fashion crowd and the “real,” original camp? We're content to stick to highlighting the beauty of our costume jewellery on its own merits, knowing the pieces will complement anyone on which they're worn.

the German fashion mag Brigitte

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