(Solution Download) The physical difference between the women who model clothes and

The physical difference between the women who model clothes and women who buy them has long been a point of contention for shoppers-and a point of concern for health advocates who say that top fashion models have become too thin in recent years. Not only is the super-thin look unhealthy for the models, but critics say it encourages eating disorders among girls and women who aspire to look like them.
Some industry insiders admit that the images portrayed in fashion advertising are often unrealistic. Designer and television host Tim Gunn says the problem starts with an unrealistic assumption in the illustration stage, when designers are sketching new clothes. "The way in which we illustrate [a model's body] is seven heads high, which isn't normal. We're always striving to have the same look of the illustration on the runway, and it's impossible. You have a few-forgive me-freaky people who can approximate that size and shape, but this look is not part of the real world."
Models weren't always much thinner than the general population, and the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward more normal body types-at least slightly. In the summer of 2008, La Maison Simons, a Canadian retailer, pulled its back-to-school catalog following complaints that its models were too thin; the company replaced the catalog and issued an apology. Ken Downing, fashion director at the upscale American retailer Neiman-Marcus, explains, "Any retailer has to consider [its] customer and who [it's] trying to appeal to. There are models of all shapes and sizes, and the people who do the advertising and marketing really have to be conscious that they're portraying healthy, beautiful women of many ages and many colors from many back-grounds."40
Your task: Imagine that you're the director of catalog operations at La Maison Simons, and you want to make sure that the embarrassing episode with the summer 2008 catalog isn't repeated. Write a brief e-mail to the catalog staff, outlining the company's new policy of using only models with healthy body mass indexes. (Make up any information you need to draft the message.) You can visit the company's website, at www.simons.ca, to learn more about its products, and you can research body mass index at a variety of health-related websites.


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