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.’