Study Shows Average-Size Models Could Help Sell More Clothes

Photo: Courtesy of ASOS.
Fashion is a world that’s always been rooted in aspiration. Much as we may wish we were prancing on a white-sand beach in a designer gown 24/7, that's the reality for precious few people who aren't named Rihanna. Designers often cite this aspirational quality as one of the reasons they use young, very thin (sometimes dangerously so) models in their campaigns and runway shows. But, health and body issues aside, there’s yet another reason to rethink this questionable strategy: Turns out, average-size models may help brands sell more clothes.  New research from University of Kent suggests that using size zero models (often the sample size for designer pieces) isn’t a helpful marketing strategy. The women polled in the study — who range in age from 18 to 45 years old — showed no preference between average and size-zero models in established fashion brands. However, when presented with fictitious "new brands," the women actually preferred average-sized models to the size-zero ones.  The research leader Dr. Bian explained the findings, saying, “The issue of fashion industry use of skinny models is a very controversial and we have even seen France's parliament considering a ban. Our research shows that the fashion industry has nothing to fear from using average-sized models in it marketing campaigns, and could even find that it sells more of its products by doing so." If potential jail time, fines, or industry peer pressure aren't enough to convince the fashion world to stop using too-thin models, perhaps these findings will. (     

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