Straight Talk­ing

Bray People - - NEWS - MARISA REIDY

LAST WEEK, out­spo­ken Ir­ish de­signer Paul Costel­loe got him­self in a spot of bother by claim­ing that hav­ing size 16 mod­els show­case his clothes ‘wouldn’t be good for busi­ness.’

He was speak­ing af­ter depart­ment store Deben­hams de­cided to stock size 16 man­nequins in its stores – a move he dis­agreed with.

The de­signer was vil­i­fied across so­cial me­dia, with women in­censed by his com­ments. Some even pledged to boy­cott his cloth­ing for­ever.

I have to say, as some­one who fluc­tu­ates from a 14 to a 16 reg­u­larly, I wasn’t a bit of­fended. In fact, I agreed with the point he was try­ing to make – that larger sizes are be­com­ing ac­cept­able as the norm when in fact what’s needed is more ed­u­ca­tion about diet and healthy eat­ing.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t abide the no­tion that a fash­ion model has to be a size zero, be­cause that’s sim­ply un­re­al­is­tic, but I do agree that it’s dan­ger­ous to start ac­cept­ing larger sizes as okay. Surely that’s the very rea­son specialist shops are now stock­ing XXXL com­mu­nion dresses for eight year old girls!

And be­fore I too get abused for in­sin­u­at­ing that a size 16 is fat or in any­way unattrac­tive, that’s not what I’m say­ing at all. But it isn’t the health­i­est size to be and any­one who thinks dif­fer­ently isn’t be­ing hon­est.

I’m the first to ad­mit that I’m not a healthy weight. In fact I re­cently joined Curves where I found out, to my hor­ror, that my BMI has me in the obese cat­e­gory and my body fat per­cent­age is sky high too. Do I want to be a size smaller? Ab­so­lutely, and I imag­ine if you asked most size 16 women they’d say the same.

Of course there are ex­cep­tions – such as women who are or have been much big­ger and would love to be a 16 - but there is a lot of merit in what Paul Costel­loe is say­ing.

He prob­a­bly could have phrased it bet­ter, granted, but he’s never been one to mince his words. Ed­u­ca­tion around food and diet is es­sen­tial and it should start from child­hood and con­tinue through life – end of story.

It’s time we woke up to the fact that we and in­deed our chil­dren are get­ting big­ger and no one should be slammed for say­ing it out loud.

It’s po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone mad, but maybe in­stead of be­ing so pre­cious we should heed the mes­sen­ger rather than shoot­ing him!

Ir­ish de­signer Paul Costel­loe, slammed for claim­ing size 16 mod­els ‘wouldn’t be good for busi­ness.’

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