The fashion industry has lost its mind

Published on July 18, 2012 under Photography

Kate Upton

I don't think it's anything new that the fashion industry will have crackpots pushing impossible body standards on women. My usual reaction when I see some blurb about a beautiful woman deemed as "fat" is to roll my eyes and move on. That or laugh at a badly-done Photoshop retouching that clearly displays how fake the image is.

The other day, I saw a link posted to an article where supermodel Kate Upton proclaimed that she would not starve herself to be thin. At first I smiled and thought it was cool that she was standing up to the insanity, but when I dug deeper I was appalled at how far this drama had gone.

The Kate Upton Drama

Kate UptonIt started when Kate was signed to IMG Models and then made the rounds of various runways. Many thought she was fresh, new, and brought a natural sense of "sexy" not seen since the pin-up girls of the 1950s. She wasn't some super-thin Eastern European-looking female with a sharp jawline and high cheekbones. Kate's natural beauty caught the attention of many in both good and bad ways.

Immediately there were harsh critics. Fashion elites claimed in so many ways that Kate Upton was not their definition of "quality" and criticized how her social media fame catapulted her into the big leagues. Some also ridiculed Upton as "fat", simply because she is more athletically curvy over the thin/waif look that's dominated fashion for decades.

Still, Upton persevered. She landed a shoot in Vogue and made the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, despite how a Victoria's Secret casting agent dismissed her as a "Page 3 girl". Another controversy arose when a pro-anorexia blog (they claim to be just "pro-skinny") pulled up many photos of Upton, bashing on her body, breasts, thighs, etc. An internet firestorm exploded, which led Kate to publicly laughing off the critics and stating she will not starve herself to fit the unrealistic standards of the fashion industry.

So why am I bothered by all this?

I mentioned before that I usually roll my eyes or laugh when I see the fashion industry go ballistic over a percentage of body fat on a model, but reading the opinions of "critics", it made me look at the few beautiful females I have been privileged to shoot in a fashion sense. I can imagine the fashion industry trashing on all of them for whatever little things they claim to be imperfections.

All of this insanity has made me now ask "what exactly is this industry selling now?"

I spend a lot of free time looking at photos and portfolios out there, always to learn more about fashion shooting and to get more ideas. What I notice now is how much fashion photography has more become soft pornography. I see loads of nude, swimwear, and lingerie photography, but less of actual clothing. I honestly would love to shoot a male for fashion, thinking in a "GQ" sense, but it's hard to find inspiration when 99% of the male photos I see are copycats of CK underwear ads or potential Playgirl centerfolds. You would think that a normal man is supposed to be buff and practically naked based on all this.

So what is the fashion industry selling now? I see so much about skin, BMI, bust size, facial features, hair, etc...but not much about clothes or style. The Kate Upton criticism only seems to enforce this. They seemingly only care that she's not thinner with a sharper jaw and higher cheekbones, but what about the fashions? Isn't all of this supposed to be about getting myself and others to go out and buy new clothes?

Obsessing over insanity

Victoria's Secret Angels

The obsession with "perfection" (and the drama that follows) is annoying. I feel like the fashion industry is more concerned with the mannequin than the clothes. In the eyes of a normal person, Kate Upton looks as skinny and model-esque as the rest of the fashion industry, but to criticize her at this level sends out more messages to young women all over that if you're not super-skinny with big firm boobs popping straight out on their own, long hair, sharp jaw and high cheekbones, then you're "ugly".

I think about when I ask female friends whom I think are beautiful if they would let me shoot photos of them. Usually I get some answer of how they will do it after they drop some weight. I don't argue, because I believe this "weight loss" is also about helping them build confidence, but I honestly think it's unnecessary. The reality is that if I'm asking to shoot you, then it means I think you look great "as is".

I'm all for being healthy and taking care of oneself, but when I see men and women believing they must look like one of the Beckhams in order to be photographed, then I feel like we've lost what it really means to be beautiful. Now I can only imagine if I ask someone if they would like to do a shoot that they'll reply how they want to drop some weight, get a boob job and a face-lift. Come on now.

I've become a Kate Upton fan now, mainly because she's standing up to the insanity of the fashion industry. I hope she keeps on throwing punches, walking runways, posing for loads of photos, and pushing that you don't have to be a size 0 with a Bond girl face to be beautiful.

On my end, I'll keep shooting real people and showing how everyone is beautiful, and style isn't limited to a tiny sliver of society.

What do you think? Is Kate Upton fat? Or has the fashion industry further lost its mind?

Tags: Kate Upton, modeling, fashion, photography, drama

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