David Ashton, Medical Director of Healthier Weight - a weight loss expert and advisor on physical activity to the WHO (World Health Organisation) - has issued a plea to organisers of the London Fashion Week, which starts today (17 September) to ‘get real with model sizes’ on the catwalk.
In a move which dispels the misconception that a doctor specialising in weight loss wants to create the typical skinny catwalk model when treating his patients, Dr Ashton has voiced his support for the recent 'plus size' fashion show New York and asked that the London Fashion Week, follows suit.
Typically fashion weeks, on the international calendar, feature women who are no larger than a size six but history was made when 'plus size' models were used in New York.
With designer Mark Fast expected to fly the flag once more for larger models as London falls under the fashion spotlight, Dr Ashton said, “It may seem strange that a doctor who spends his life treating obese patients would welcome plus size fashion. People often assume that I must want to create slim, indeed skinny, people – or that the people coming to see me want to look like catwalk models. Nothing could be further from the truth. I loathe the use of skinny models which causes so much anxiety and distress to women. I trust the London Fashion Show will take a lead from New York on ‘plus size’ models.”
Ashton commented, “I treat people for obesity via diet or obesity surgery because, for me, obesity is a health issue. In an ideal world all women would have a Body Mass Index of 22 and be a size 12. Our world is far from ideal and, therefore, if a woman can reduce from a size 20 to a size 16, this weight loss will confer a health benefit. I’ve been trying to get across for years the unsexy message that modest improvements in weight are worth striving for and most of my patients have realistic expectations of what dieting or obesity surgery can do for them. There is a lot of depression associated with obesity and it is fuelled by models who present an impossibly skinny image for the vast majority of women on this planet. I’m happy my patients will have more fashion choices because people want to look good and feel confident whatever their weight."
Meanwhile retailers are recognising trends with high street store, Debenhams, promoting ranges to satisfy more realistic weights through the use of size 16 mannequins in their stores. Debenhams spokesperson, Mark Stevens is on record saying: “We are proud to offer a broad and varied choice for women of all ages, shapes and sizes in store”.