Monday, May 14, 2012

Revisiting Heroin Chic

Remember when the fashion industry got all caught up in Heroin Chic--the mid 1990s fashion trend in which models intentionally dressed and groomed themselves to look like emaciated, ailing heroin addicts? Remember when that fashion trend was so popular that brands like Calvin Klein launched an entire campaign centered around it?

If you don't remember Heroin Chic, it's so okay. You didn't miss much.

If you do remember Heroin Chic, you've been following fashion for some time and you remember this period in fashion that was so dark and roundly criticized, that Bill Clinton even took time out of his busy schedule of keeping the economy moving, being charming (we forgive you for Monica, Bill. We do.), and running the country, to condemn it.

It's hard to believe that we went there in the fashion industry. Glamorizing drug use and the effects of drugs on the body is mind-bafflingly silly. Young women are most impressionable and it is irresponsible for fashion labels (some of the biggest at the time) sign on to such a trend.

It's hard to believe, indeed because we've come a long way, right? The fashion industry would never again embrace a trend in which models intentionally make themselves look frail, emaciated and unhealthy, right?

I applaud how far the fashion industry has come. It has curbed airbrushing, been more inclusive of models of racial and ethnic minorities, and made fashion generally more accessible to working women.

But, the fashion industry still must do more to include those of us who are size 10 and 12 and 14. Those of us who have curves and hips. Those of us who are thick. You know, women.

I know. There are plus-sized clothes, and television shows and models. But, quarantining us into this area called "plus-sized" only proves my point--the fashion industry must do more to include curvy women in mainstream fashion.

As long as the industry standard for a model is this,

while this is considered "plus-sized," 

we aren't all that far from Heroin Chic at all.

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