February 21st, 2007 // 21 Comments

A hush falls over the landscape of the fashion industry as it is announced that a size twelve model will be ruling the runway. John Lewis is going where no designer dares to stick their measuring tape by selecting a double-digit sized model to strut the catwalk. Lauren Moller has won the spot of repping the summer collection and her photo shoot is just around the corner. Lewis has used size ten models and store mannequins in the past, but the size twelve is more ideal to “real life body shapes.”

Sporting the measurements of what sounds like a fairly trim frame, Lauren is 5′ 8″ with a 26-inch waist and 37.5 inch hips. Despite her svelte numbers, John stands by his claim that she is indeed a size twelve. The modeling agencies that were contacted in search of the proper size twelve considered it to be a “plus size.” The maximum hip measurement (for most agencies) is around 36-37 inches.

The touchy issue of weight is a continued battle in the industry, most especially regarding the issue of a minimum body fat requirement for models. Then, last night before my yoga class I mentioned the subject to one of my fellow yoga fans. Her feelings supporting a ban on underweight models were strong, but with a catch.

“If the issue is health behind the ban, then shouldn’t there be an equality? If you are going to ban the underweight then shouldn’t there be an official ban for the overweight? Obesity is just as serious health threat as anorexia.”

As I was breathing in ‘down dog’ I thought about what she had said. It made absolute sense in my head. Then a poll was born.

*Note* My friend and I were discussing the ban in general. She nor I, consider the size 12 obese. This Lauren article just coincided with my “curves welcome” theory. My apologies if that was unclear. *NOTE* The above picture is of said model. So in no way shape or form I am misleading anyone with a picture of a diifferent model. The above picture is from a London newspaper of Lauren Moller who claims to be a size 12. As size differs in countries please take it with a grain of salt.

By Cara Harrington

  1. jasper

    Size 12 with those measurements??? I don’t think so.

    And if the average north american woman is a size 14/16, why is a 12 considered a ‘plus-size’.

    What would the ‘obese’ model size or weight or body fat be?

  2. Gigi

    Well, while Cara’s friend does have a good point, there is a problem with her logic. No model is trying to become obese at all costs. Anorexic models usually got that way because of the industry… because someone told them that at a size 4, they were fat. Obese people aren’t TRYING to be obese. No agency is going to tell them, “Ya know, you’ve lost about 5 pounds, and it needs to come back immediately.”

    I think the ban on super thin models is a lot more about no longer encouraging what the industry has made “standard”, instead of discriminating against people who are naturally thin or have a natural tendency to become anorexic.

  3. Yudonomi

    Gigi, your logic is a little shaky. You don’t have to “try at all costs” to become obese for it to happen, or for it to become a health risk.

    (Google seems to indicate to me that) Anorexia affects ~3% of the female population throughout their lifetimes, where ~25% of females are already obese. Which is the greater immediate threat?

  4. V,

    I read this a couple of days ago in the British press, and if I recall correctly, she’s a UK size 12, which I think is the equivalent of a US size 8. Hardly plus size, either way.

  5. Geezus

    I’m sorry, your friend considers a size 12 OBESE? Is she mental? If that girl is indeed a 12 at 5 foot 8 she’s far from even overweight let alone obese. If we’re talking health then we’re talking about seriously overweight or underweight people not someone who wears a 10 or a 12 or a 14 for the love of God. The measurements of the model in the article sound more like a UK size 12 to me or a US 8/10. I wear a US 12 and my waist is nowhere NEAR 26 inches! More like 32/33. I’m five six and I could stand to lose 10 lbs but I’m not all that big either! For banning models you need to talk about extremes not girls who can fit easily into high street store sizes.

  6. Loob

    That’s her, right there? She’s gorgeous! What a lovely figure!

  7. Gigi

    Yudonomi, I don’t really want to get into a p!ssing match, but I have to disagree. Googling what affects the entire population has nothing to do with what affects international runway models. I agree completely that many people, especially in the US, has a big problem with being overweight or obese. However, we’re focusing on models here, and I doubt that those percentages for anorexia are in any way correct for that population (models), specifically.

    Further, my comment about about “trying at all costs” is to point out that currently, most models are desperately trying to be super thin, doing whatever it takes to become that way. They are definitely NOT TRYING to be obese. I realize that it doesn’t take “trying at all costs” to become obese. That almost goes without saying. However, I think you missed my point entirely that this is a lot more about what the industry demands, and they will NEVER demand obese models.

  8. tina

    Even as a UK size 12, 37.5 inch hips still sound pretty tiny to me. I’m 5’8″ and a comfortable US size 10 and I believe my hips are somewhere around 41-42? Then again I’ve got wide hips and a big latin booty, but still. So I find her as a UK 12 pretty unbelievable. Nonetheless, her figure is really beautiful and it would be nice more girls like that on the runway.

    I’m not sure where it was that I heard that during the days of the glamazon models (Cindy, Naomi, Tyra, Linda, etc.), sample sizes were either a 4 or 6. Now sample sizes are 0 and 2, correct? These girls are freaks of nature. I’m fairly comfortable with my body most of the time, but flipping through the pages of Harpar’s Bazaar or Vogue for a mere 5 minutes puts a damper on my whole day. It’s true, their weight is their job…but who are they advertising to? The media has the power to change an entire society’s perception of almost anything. All designers have to do is gradually start demanding fuller figured girls (and I don’t mean “big” girls, but I mean…at least a 6 for christ sake) and public perception will follow. It’s up to them. Maybe then people will stop dying to be thin.

  9. Kim

    First of all, I find it shocking that a 26 inch waist, and 37.5 inch hips are considered a UK 12 or a US 8!! By “real” standards–meaning, compared to my friends or even women I see in public in general, that is what we would all describe as thin, certainly not plus sized!! I have always taken the images of women in magazines or on runways with a grain of salt- meaning, I know that they are by FAR the minority, and that most of them have to engage in a certain lifestyle, an uncomfortable lifestyle, to look the way they do. Come on, we’ve all tried to cut calories and lose weight and know how physically taxing that is! So I agree that seeing a models with more meat would be a positive thing. But if we’re still labeling these “meatier” models as plus-sized, I see young women and girls getting even more screwed up body images!! In fact, I share the same measurements as this model, and when I read that she was considered plus-sized, I have to admit- it made me feel bad about myself–for a moment.

  10. It’s hypocritical for the fashion industry to simply ban under/over-weight models. Designers must go one step further and stop producing clothing that fits them. Yes, that’s right: no more 00 & XXL. They are enabling these poor people as well as profiteering off of their diseased lifestyles.


  11. Sydney

    I’m 5’8″ with a 36″ measurement for my hips and I’m a size 2 or 4. (Not to start a firestorm, but to respond to the post above, some of us really are that lucky to not have to diet and end up being this size.) Maybe she’s a size 8 when she really cinches a belt to make those baggy pants stay on her frame. That being said, she’s probably at a healthy weight and shouldn’t we be supporting that?

  12. beth

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if size wasn’t an issue at all? If we could see girls that are (natural) size 2′s and 6′s and 12′s and even 14′s or 16′s walk down the same runway in Paris? Maybe designers should start choosing models for their charm, grace, aura and talent rather than how much their collarbones stick out. I just don’t understand it. Every size can be lovely.

  13. roscoe

    Right on, Beth!

  14. holli

    I’m not sure where it was that I heard that during the days of the glamazon models (Cindy, Naomi, Tyra, Linda, etc.), sample sizes were either a 4 or 6. Now sample sizes are 0 and 2, correct?

    Actually, no. Sizes have been getting smaller and smaller. In the 80′s I was a 4-6, and now AT THE SAME SIZE, I’m a 0-2.
    Clothing companies are making sizes bigger and adding more numbers because women are getting bigger.
    When I buy a vintage 1950s or 1960s dress, the size label says 10!
    When people say “Marilyn monroe was a size 14!”
    They mean she was a 4-6 in today’s sizes.

  15. Sara

    I am 5’8″ and I had a 26″ waist and 36″ hips in college and I was a size 6 in GAP jeans and a size 4 in most dresses. She is no way a US 12 with those measurements.

  16. Ali

    I’m a 12UK, my hips are 40″ and my waist is 28″ (I got booty). I fit a 12 comfortably. She sounds like an 8UK.

  17. Weight has always been a touchy subject for me, however, when I was comfortably fitting into a size 10 pant, my waist was about 24 inches and my hips were around 36. It’s wholly possible that she is a 14 with those measurements, but it’s important to remember that sizes vary from designer/company to designer/company.

  18. Tim Duncan

    The picture you list comes from the Daily Mail – a british publication listing the woman as a size 12.
    BUT, a British size 12 is a US size 8, so your picture is very misleading:

  19. grace

    i am a model signed with ford. i am 16 years old, five foot eleven. my measurements are 33-26-37. there is no way that girl is a size 12 if she has a 26 inch waist and 37.5 hips. i am able to stomp catwalks in a size 4 and those are my measurements. it makes more sense that she is a US size 8… but she is beautiful nonetheless and its nice to see more bodies that are not completely skeletal in this industry.

  20. Kate

    The agencies would consider anyone with 37 inch hips as positively obese these days.

    By the way a UK 12(USA 8) is hips of about 37.5

    A Uk 10 (USA 6) is 35.7 to 36 inch hips.

    IT is irrelevant how small her waist is, if you have hips that size, you are a UK 12.

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