[Opinion] The fashion industry is targeted towards one body type and is harmful for teenagers


Grace Brill

People come in all shapes and sizes. However, it seems the fashion industry targets specific body types to sell their products.

Caitlyn Acosta, Photographer

The fashion industry is very toxic for young teens; fast fashion, fake standards, and harmful working conditions are just a few factors that contribute to this toxicity. Having been around forever, one of the biggest problems in the fashion industry is the fact that there is one body type that is most commonly seen.

The vast majority of models seen in all the big magazines and clothing retailers have the same “perfect” body, which consists of a flat stomach, long legs and an hourglass figure. Some of these magazines and retailers include Vogue, InStyle, Zara and H&M. This has been an issue for years and it is still prevalent today. However, due to the prominence of social media, the issue is slapped right in our face the second we turn on our phones.

Opening any social media platform, such as Instagram, to see skinny models and celebrities be praised for their bodies while musician Lizzo bashed for hers is extremely harmful to viewers, especially children and young adults. This causes individuals to constantly compare themselves to the highly esteemed influencers and models. This is a big reason why many teenagers struggle with body image.

Many of the trendy stores teenagers enjoy shopping at, specifically Brandy Melville, do not make clothing suited for all body types. Instead, Brandy Melville is known for their lack of diversity in models and size options. On their website, almost all of the clothes come in a size small or extra small without an option to change the size. Their brand contains a lot of clothing that is currently in style, which leaves many who do not fit into a small or extra small unable to participate.

There has also been a recent trend on TikTok called “Is it a fit or is she skinny?” where a plus size person puts on an outfit that a smaller model has worn to test if they would work on multiple body types. One outfit that comes up constantly is a baggy pants and baggy top combination.

When someone with the “ideal” body type wears it, it is fashion forward and trendy. As soon as a plus sized person wears it, they are considered lazy and sloppy. This is due to skinnier girls fitting into the beauty standard placed in society so they do not have to do as much to be perceived as conventionally attractive.

People have viewed this issue and have started to dissolve it by including all kinds of body types on the runways, plus size sections in stores and more. Stores such as Hollister and Abercrombie have made a new “curvy” fit for jeans that add an additional two inches to the hip and thigh area. Others have also added “petite” size pants for those who have shorter legs.

People of all different body sizes and shapes are rising to fame as influencers, helping those who look like them feel confident in themselves. They recommend certain clothes that suit specific body types.

As well as showing more representation, social media has also done a better job at pointing out some influencers that promote unrealistic standards by doing things such as photoshop to their pictures. There are pages that show the before and after of photoshopped pictures. They can show how some features you see on someone’s body or face in a picture may not be real. Whether that is by emphasizing or de-emphasizing it.

These are a few examples of things that are being done to help with this issue and bring light to it. This situation is getting better as people spread awareness and talk more about this issue. New clothing lines can help by making sure there is more diversity in their sizing options. Sizes should range from XXS-5XL. Ordinary people can support these brands and share them with others. Everyone can help to make a change by recognizing and addressing this problem.