The thin ideal is a characteristic feature of late-modern western societies. Yet, the awareness of the harm it causes has proved insufficient to defeat it. Moreover, despite the international trend of overweight and obesity's increase, the fashion industry and fashion consumers continue to adjust their decisions to an ideal of slenderness. This seems contradictory. This article shows that the inertia of the thin ideal can be explained by referring to the practice of fashion: The ideal of thinness has been incorporated into habits, routines, objects and the bodies themselves of those who engage in the practice. On one hand, the article shows that at the origin of the tyranny of thinness there is, among other things, a technological development in the production of fashion, namely, the application of the sizing system to the manufacture of clothing. On the other hand, it argues that the thin ideal today is not just a standard of perfection in people's minds - for instance, in the attitude of fashion designers and consumers towards the female body - but is also incorporated in very solid elements in the process of fashion production, for instance, the models' bodies. This makes it especially hard for all protagonists of the fashion system to change their attitude and practices towards the standards to be pursued. The inclusion of the ideal of thinness in the practice of fashion can be considered a significant reason of its resilience in a changing world.

The thin ideal and the practice of fashion

Volonte P.
2019-01-01

Abstract

The thin ideal is a characteristic feature of late-modern western societies. Yet, the awareness of the harm it causes has proved insufficient to defeat it. Moreover, despite the international trend of overweight and obesity's increase, the fashion industry and fashion consumers continue to adjust their decisions to an ideal of slenderness. This seems contradictory. This article shows that the inertia of the thin ideal can be explained by referring to the practice of fashion: The ideal of thinness has been incorporated into habits, routines, objects and the bodies themselves of those who engage in the practice. On one hand, the article shows that at the origin of the tyranny of thinness there is, among other things, a technological development in the production of fashion, namely, the application of the sizing system to the manufacture of clothing. On the other hand, it argues that the thin ideal today is not just a standard of perfection in people's minds - for instance, in the attitude of fashion designers and consumers towards the female body - but is also incorporated in very solid elements in the process of fashion production, for instance, the models' bodies. This makes it especially hard for all protagonists of the fashion system to change their attitude and practices towards the standards to be pursued. The inclusion of the ideal of thinness in the practice of fashion can be considered a significant reason of its resilience in a changing world.
2019
fashion industry; ideal of thinness; plus-size fashion; Practice theory; sizing system
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1116400
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