A lot is made of the fashion industry’s extreme beauty standards, and how women consumers feel pressured to look like thirteen year old girls. But what about the girls themselves? Girl Model is a documentary airing on PBS March 24 (then streaming until April 23) that follows Nadya, a thirteen year old model from rural Siberia, to Tokyo, where she is expected to learn her new trade. Autumn at The Beheld gives a full review of the film, which reveals telling details about the “supply chain” of the modelling industry – both the children who struggle to make it big, and the adults whose livelihoods depend on them. The Beheld.
If Nadya makes it to New York, there are laws there to protect minors working in the entertainment industry. Except, uh, not in fashion – somehow fashion models are not included in the Department of Labor requirements that prohibit dangerous working conditions and require access to tutors if the child is not able to attend school. The Model Alliance has written a petition to give child fashion models the same protections afforded to other child performers. Sign it here. The Model Alliance.
College can be something of a beauty contest too – Business Insider published a slideshow of the top 25 colleges where the students are “Hot and Smart”, from information given to College Prowler, a student-based college ranking site. Seeing as the inputs are entirely voluntary, and that Liberty University ranks as a “smart” school (they must be an advertiser), I’m going to guess that this is not a scientific study. Business Insider.
More beauty contests, only this time it’s about the animals. And not out in the country, with 4-h clubs showing their grooming skills. New York used to have goat beauty contests in the 1930’s, and most of those goats lived in the city itself. Secret societies and men’s clubs enjoyed keeping a goat around for laughs, and apparently having a goat at a stable or kennel keeps the other animals well-behaved. (Or maybe next to the goat, they just seem well-behaved.) Goats were all over Central Park, too – pulling little carts for the (human) kids, and working as lawn mowers. Finally, we in NYC think Gotham City sounds all Superhero, but “Gottam”, from a book of English proverbs, means “Goat’s Town”, and refers to a village of simple-minded fools. New York Times.
Fashion is so often about looking cool, but it’s also about appropriateness within one’s environment, whether that’s the “in” crowd, mid level management, or a roomful of academics. That’s doubly true when traveling abroad – and triply true when traveling in countries where dressing wrongly can lead to personal danger. Cara Silver and Jan Chipchase, global design researchers whose job is seeking insight in how people in developing nations utilize technology, wrote this article on how their female team members deal with dressing in gender-segregated regions in Afghanistan. Dressing modestly, but looking foreign enough to take advantage of the “liberties afforded foreign guests”, is a delicate balance. Future Perfect.
“Just Like You, But Better”: New York Magazine sums up Martha Stewart’s beauty routine (as told to Allure) perfectly. New York Magazine.