Uproar Over J. Crew’s Too Thin Model

There’s an uproar circling J. crew. “Sickening’ skinniness in J. Crew” screams a headline in Salon yesterday. “My friends and colleagues are horrified by the ‘alien-like’ images in the catalog,” writes Tracy Clark-Flory about J. Crew’s SS10 catalog, but she follows, “Huh, they look normal to me.” The piece is one of the most interesting takes on models’ controversial weight I’ve seen.

While emails comparing the model, Magdalena Frackowiak, and J. Crew’s cuts to those fit solely for prepubescent Asian women poured in, Clark-Flory was beside herself. After all, thighs as thin as some women’s arms are the norm in high-fashion, aren’t they?

What’s most interesting about the uproar is that Frackowiak is by no means your average anonymous teen model. The Polish mannequin is 25-years-old and has been gracing magazine covers from Italian and Japanese Vogue to Numero for the last four years. She has likewise appeared in ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Alessandro Dell-Acqua and Oscar de la Renta. And a side-by-side comparison of Frackowiak in J. Crew’s new campaign and major ads she has appeared in in the past shows, not to mention one particular nude, shows no noticeable weight loss. Read: she’s as skinny as she’s ever been. So what explains the extremely negative responses?

Perhaps it’s the fact that J. Crew is a mainstream brand, and therefore expected to market its images toward the ‘every woman.’ And there’s no denying that Frackowiak is exceptionally thin; she can thank her Central European genes for that (if not a relatively restrictive diet too). But, fact is, there’s nothing new about this brand of thinness in the industry… which leads me to pleasantly ponder: are we finally wearing thin in our previously unchallenged acceptance of size-zero models? Perhaps change really is afoot.

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