Body Image

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The old and new guard did a lot of hypocritical slinging at each other during this past fashion week, which felt to me like the pot calling the kettle black. If you are perpetuating the same cold and distant veneer, what is the diffference if you are of the print or blogger ilk? The question remains for SLU: Where is there anything innovative and genuine? Are we really breaking any ground with virtually identical blank-staring, stick-thin, often pre-pubescent models going up and down the runway? Let alone the plethora of unapproachable, overly-produced ads with this season’s regurgitation of imitation images from last year or even 20 years ago. And certainly parading for attention outside of the shows in borrowed or contrived loud clothes isn’t the central qualification for the trailblazing status of Diana Vreeland, Gloria Steinem, or Coco Chanel.

As a fashion stylist and editor for 25 years, I am of both the old and new guard, around in the 80s when the industry was packed with originals whose ideas were truly mind- and fashion-expanding. It feels as if much of fashion today is a watered down, karaoke version of that. It’s at the point where I actually got into a cab during NYFW and starting hitting the taxi TV screen from the overload of brands shoving this season’s robotic mannequins in your face in order to push their products. I, for one, would at least like to move this show an inch into the 21st c. and know who these girls are and what their opinion is on the garments that they are wearing. Some personality, substance, and, best of all, flaws, perhaps?

Don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with fashion and clothes: they are the lifeblood that enables me to express myself. I love it so much that I consider fashion to be an art and continue to look for the art season after season in its community and industry, only to find commerce and a machinery that allows almost nothing in terms of true originality or revolutionary ideas. I have a feeling that what would bring clothing back to a fertile life would be a fashion business that is aspirational and inclusive, instead of inane and exclusive.

On our body image roundtable we begin the conversation about how painful the inauthentic, unattainable, cookie-cutter norms have been to females and why mass culture accepts these (or any standards) that diminish women. We often ask our muses to tell us what they consider to be beautiful. Now I am going to answer what is beautiful to me: beautiful to me is Eve, Cory Kennedy, Venus X, G*LEE, Megan LeCrone, Nicolette Mason, Domonique Echeverria, and Sara Ziff. Each of these women has the guts to set a new tone for what I feel is the beginning of a fresh paradigm — one that leads to palpable, not phony, token, empowerment. Diana Vreeland, Gloria Steinem, and Coco Chanel all wore clothes — clothes did not wear them, because their sartorial freedom and voices gave license to a needed change. Style and beauty is a self confidence that comes from a willingness to be as much vulnerable as bold, i.e. having vision and putting your money where your mouth is. The 21st c. is upon us — time to blow up what’s exhausted and doesn’t work anymore.

- Elisa Goodkind

Video Edited by Andrea Cruz.

Music: ‘Searchlight’ by Dreamings.

  • http://www.absolutelymrsk.blogspot.com Absolutely Mrs. K

    I love nicolette! she is one of my favorite bloggers together with the beckermans!!! she is such an inspiration, genuine has an amazing style, smart, well i love her

  • http://holdenpumphrey.com/ Holden

    I want to take every single one of these ladies out for brunch. What a group of badassery. Sara Ziff’s first film is incredible and I’m glad to see she’s still a voice. Eve kills me. And Domonique Echeverria is…well, I feel like one lucky girl to know her. I’ll be looking into what the rest of these women do. Great discussion, I want more.

  • Ally

    this is a great panel that you have put together, varied enough that i didn’t feel like it was biased and the women on here are exceptional. i particularly agree with what sara said: clothes being marketed to adults should be modelled by adults. this is such a simple solution or at the very least, a step in the right direction towards dealing with this sample size issue. i am a very petite person but i am also very curvy so like sara, this is just my body – i’ve never dieted or adapted any unhealthy habits to be this way. but i have close friends who are “plus-sized” and have to deal with so many issues with fashion. they can’t get the same great designs i can get for girls my size (which is far from average at a petite 5’2″) because designs are overly simplified the larger the size gets. it’s so unfair and they are closer to representing the average woman than i am!

  • Lulus

    Sara Ziff is so intelligent and refreshing- although she is thin and fits the ‘runway model type’ effortlessly, you don’t notice that about her- you notice her intelligence and thoughtfulness. That is what should always be ‘sold’ to others. What a great panel discussion. Eve’s comments at the end were perfect.

  • jlclem

    is that chick on heroin?

  • Juliana Kasan

    Grace is always so fresh! Love her energy! xoxox

  • Ms. Natural Couture

    I love that more women are opening up and discussing this. Taking back our own womanhood and feminity out of the ideals of what is attractive to men, and back into what our true experiences are as a woman is definitely the first step

  • http://www.facebook.com/merkley Merkley Merkley

    I still think it’s a little weird that it’s never discussed that a lot of weirdness comes from women following fashion trends set by male gay designers who don’t see the female form as ideal or attractive in the first place.

    The pubescent male silhouette is very niche in the scope of things and should have nothing to do with how women view themselves.

    The fact that it ever factors in sort of boggles the mind. Borders on misogyny even.

    Maybe there really needs to be more straight male designers who actually like and desire women the way nature made them.

    or maybe one of my best friends ever, Domonique, can just be in charge of it all.

    I could go for that.

  • Rheannan Watson

    Thank you guys so much for this.

  • UNBOXED

    Re-sizing the sample size to size 4 or 6? Average size woman—–> Between sizes 8-12…totally agree with Sara, whom I believe shared some substantial information during this panel.

  • MeMe

    or just women designing for women.

  • Yasmeen Ati

    I thought the sample size is suppose to be a size 8 bc it is easier to grade patterns up and down from that size to get more accurate measurements. I think designers create sample size 0 as an excuse to use smaller sized models in their shows. I appreciated this round table bc it shows that women of sizes, shapes and backgrounds have at some point in their life have had to deal with their body image. It is great to see that so many of them have grown to love the beautiful temples called their body.

  • Valentina Cerutti

    loved this discussion so much! one of the best, most sincere and empowering I’ve ever seen!

  • anon

    Why are there no men in this video?

  • http://twitter.com/thethriftscore Jimmy Dagger

    This is wonderful. I love the fact that I came across this discussion on a fashion website. THANK YOU.

  • http://twitter.com/fudgedeelight Thandiwe

    Oh snap, I didn’t think of that.

  • Chanel Stewart

    I’m in love with this article and video!!!! Very well composed.