Models at the Olympics

Much has been written and debated since the Closing ceremony, oddly enough the use of Supermodels seems to be getting some of the most attention.

Many are seeing it as a celebration of women for their looks only. Seemingly bypassing the enormous amount of talent, change and sheer amazingness that has been and will continue to be the British Fashion Industry.

From McQueen giving us bumster jeans, Westwood and her involvement with the Punk movement, Mods, Rockers, Pearlies, Gallino (before the fall from grace), Burberry and the iconic trench coat to a thousand other items of clothes, movements, looks and genres the clothes we wear today would not be what they are without the Brits and their sense of style and fashion.

So where do models fit into this?

Well within the industry models are seen as coat hangers. The better the coat hanger the better your designs look. Tall and slim photographs well. Is it fair? well no but every time a designer makes the “bold” choice to feature every day people in their parade, catalogue or look book more column inches will be dedicated to the size of their models than to the designs.

And supermodels?

Supermodels started back in the eighties with the start of celebrity culture. They took the Concorde, had fabulous clothes, were at all the best parties and some of them even dated rock stars. Back then many of the designers were just names, not celebrities in their own right. So the media (not just the fashion media) made the models the celebrities.

In an effort to fuel the ongoing obsession with celebrity culture every model seems to be called a super model. Those used in the Olympics could easily all be referred to as super models. Are they great role models? Tantrums, drug habits, a multitude of crazy antics could be attributed to some or all of them. Thing is the same antics and habits could be applied to a decent amount of the musical performers from both the opening and closing ceremonies.

So why are only the women being singled out as bad role models? Is it because they make their living as models? Is that a career that is not deemed worthy? Is it because they are good looking women who make their career being good looking women? Why is being good looking a crime for a woman? If ordinary people are so wanted then why do movies employ actors when ordinary people would do just as well? why do we have acclaimed chefs when just any old cook would do?

The fashion industry will continue to use models, designers will continue to be acclaimed for their talent and many will continue to see the fashion industry as a self serving glamour ridden cess pool.

There will be much I remember from the Olympics, the fact that models were used in the closing ceremony will barely register, I will remember the designers though, but more than that I will remember the times as a little kid when I would be watching the Olympics on television and when an athlete won they would be so happy to achieve their dream by working hard.

As a young girl in a small country town dreaming of being a designer, I would think “if I work hard maybe I can achieve my dream too”. My destiny was not that of an athlete, I was never going to be an Olympian but as a designer I have worked on clothes that Olympians have worn (in more than one Olympics)and clothes for models and everyday people.

For me the point was not the models and their looks but the celebration of all things British. Athletes, music, art and even fashion design. They were showing the world the huge amount of talent they have and for that they should be applauded, and maybe just maybe somewhere in the world a young kid was watching and thinking “maybe my dreams will come true if I work hard too?”.


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