`Designers need to get real'

DESIGNERS need to look at their target audiences when deciding which models to use for shows and advertisements, according to Launceston models and agency owners.

In the midst of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and National Youth Week, models are being criticised for being ``too skinny'' and setting a bad example for youth.

Body image is an ongoing issue for youth and constantly ranked one of the top concerns for Tasmanian youth in the Mission Australia youth week survey.

Last year it ranked second as the major concern for Tasmanian youth with 31.8 per cent, behind coping with stress at 39.6 per cent.

Launceston model Annabel Eastoe, 19, said it wasn't fair for models to be criticised for their weight as they were the ones being employed.

``Yes, it is their choice to be that skinny, but I think the people doing the casting should be criticised,'' Miss Eastoe said.

``Models are essentially clothes hangers and the objective for them is to get people to buy the designers' clothes.

``The majority of Australians aren't a size four so I think they need to look at their targeted audience.''

Sue Rees Modelling and Deportment Academy principal Sue Rees said when she put together fashion parades, she liked to start by picking models that were size 16 and work down.

``Our average size (for women) now is between 14 and 16,'' Ms Rees said.

``They should have all sizes on the runway . . . that's better for the retailer.''

She said it was also hard for youth facing body issues when they were constantly confronted with advertisements and pictures of small models and small-sized clothes in stores.

``If they go into these stores and boutiques and have these sizes then that's what they want to look like,'' she said.

``You've just got to be so careful.''

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