Fazila Shahwaani responds to Anorexia Comment

| On the spot: Can fashion designer Fazila Shahwaani find a way justify her statement on anorexia in the modelling industry?

You’d be forgiven for missing this internet storm if, say, you didn’t have the internet.

At the beginning of this month designer Fazila Shahwaani made the below statement on Sky News. As you can imagine it didn’t go down well!

Yesterday she Issued the below statement, do you think Sky News took advantage of a young designer by putting her on the spot and it’s all been blown out of proportion? Or is the backlash deserved?

I would like to clarify the comments made by me in the high pressure situation of the backstage before my first ever catwalk show, for my first ever collection, on my first ever TV interview for Sky News.

I am horrified at the notion that people may have misconstrued my comments to mean that I somehow encourage anorexia or support an unhealthy obsession with losing weight. I have always felt that Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental illness. My position is that I would never want to discriminate against someone because of a personal illness.

The important thing for me is that people feel confident and comfortable in my clothes. Whether they are obese or super skinny, I don’t want to judge them. In my collection there are pieces and garments for all sizes. All of the models who walked on my catwalk are healthy models, not one of them looked anorexic or unnaturally skinny.

If you see the footage on Sky News, you will notice that the models are all healthy and more so backstage pizza & chocolates were served. I never encouraged my models directly or indirectly to loose weight. After the show they were invited to enjoy the Afternoon Tea reception with cakes, scones, chocolates.

The fashion agency that represents me & organised my fashion show, has an impeccable reputation in the fashion industry. They are a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum and have supported the healthy models campaign for years. They never employ models who look anorexic and turn away applicants who look unhealthily skinny.

I work with these people so that they can support and guide me to become a true ethical fashion designer.

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I want to apologise and explain that of course I absolutely care about the health of models but I would never want to discriminate against people because of their size whether they happen to look obese or skinny.

I feel that I have been misrepresented and my comments were taken out of the context that I had intended and I am anxious for the opportunity to put the record straight.

I am not responsible for the fact that anorexic models have been used in the past by other designers. I feel like people are blaming me for everything that’s ever been wrong in the fashion industry although I’ve barely put a toe into the industry. I have been vilified and bullied on social media when really I am a young designer who has never had an anorexic-looking model ever walk the catwalk in any of my clothes.

— Fazila Shahwaani

Header image – Daily KOS

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