This New Petition Wants To Address The Unhealthy Standards of Fashion’s Sample Sizes

A new petition is demanding a change to the “unhealthy standards” posed at fashion models. And, ofc, we love to see it.

Shit Model Management is an Instagram account run by an anonymous fashion model “exposing the truth” of harsh working conditions and the real lifestyle as a model (via a bunch of memes). On the 30th of August, “tired of seeing my model counterparts wither away from eating disorders due to designers’ standards,” the anonymous advocate created a petition demanding that the industry-wide standard size of sample items changes. 

See, currently, sample items are made in US sizes 0-4 (that’s right, zero). That means that a model has to have a 32” bust, 23” waist, 34” hip and height ranging from 5’9 to 6’0. “For someone of this tall stature to be these tiny measurements, they must be around 110 pounds [approximately 49kgs].” And while some models do naturally fit these dimensions, those who don’t can be pressured to fit in—sometimes through unhealthy means.

Back in 2016 before the London Fashion Week, the Women’s Equality Party in the U.K. called out fashion designers for not showing a realistic body image on their catwalks and demanding that designers start incorporating a size 12 sample size—the average starting size of British women. Then, in 2017, Dior and Gucci banned using underweight models in a move to discourage unrealistic beauty standards on fashion models, and some other houses followed. But, understandably, the current rule of a 0-4 US size is still unrealistic and gate-keeps people who wants to work in the industry. 

When Shit Model Management did a poll with their followers, they found that 84 percent said they were told their body’s natural and healthy weight was considered “too big” and had to lose weight to work. 81 percent shared they had been encouraged to restrict their diet, a diet 73 percent of models did not think was healthy. 

Adding to their self-esteem and body image issues, 89 percent experienced someone in the fashion industry talking negatively about their body, and 70 percent of those models felt that those negative comments gave them a negative body image. From there, at least 65 percent admitted that they have an eating disorder directly related to the expectations of being a model and fitting in a size 0-4. 

“I understand that my surveys are not a scientific study, however, I believe it is an adequate sample of models who can come forward and participate in these polls,” Shit Model Management writes in the petition. “To ask every single high fashion model to be that same size no matter height, body type, etc. is inhumane,” Shit Model Management explained.

“My proposal of a new standard of sample sizes is a step forward into regulating safety in the modeling industry. To say every single model has to be this tiny size or else they won’t get booked is not treating them like human beings.”

So, why are these sample sizes so small?

So, why exactly are these sample sizes so unnaturally small? Well, according to the petition, it’s a cost issue.

“A key reason that this tiny size is the standard is because using less fabric for the sample collections cuts costs for designers. Having a standard size model means they only have to make one size for all of their sample clothing that they use in fittings, runaway shows and campaigns.”

But, asking every single fashion model to be the same size, irrespective of their varying height, body type or size is “inhumane.” 

The petition, “Change Fashion’s Shitty Standards,” was launched on the 30th of August and is requesting at least 15,000 signatures (as of writing, 12,600 have signed). 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing an eating disorder we encourage you to reach out for support. You can call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.