April 03, 2014

hi fashion industry: are you glamourising or mocking fast food? Both are silly things to do



mmLook, I enjoy a hearty Maccy D’s the same as the next hungover person. Whether it’s some sort of fast food “breakfast” the next day whilst still out and about in central London at 6am, or a cheeky Burger King at a service station to break up the hideous drive ahead when you’ve planned a nice getaway but ruined it with boozing the night before: we’ve all been there. An unashamed fast food moment is a normal part of any busy person’s life.

When talking fashion however, my one pet hate is when there is an interview with a stunning model/actress/(delete as applicable) and they are always described by the interviewer to be eating something unhealthy before the questions commence. I think the last one I read was with Mila Kunis, described first as looking “very petite” and then described in detail to be chowing down on a massive packet of salt and vinegar crisps. It was five sentences of what she ordering and eating. Only then could the interview commence. I’d rather have known what she was thinking.

I’m only poking fun at this because it has shocked me over time how much of an actual “trend” this is because every time I pick up a cover interview I look out for the little hints of LOOK HOW MUCH [INSERT PERSON] IS EATING DURING THIS INTERVIEW. I’m not suggesting anything sinister, but I just find it very odd, because a) we don’t really need to know and b) we know full well that these celebrities are on absolutely crazy diets and fitness regimes as part of their job.  I’m not trying to skinny-shame, I’m just saying that they should just get on with the interview instead telling the reader in detail about all the different calories they’re consuming.

To expand on this, the hot trend on a bigger scale appears to be fast food. Lots of top-end fashion designers and models are becoming obsessed with greasy fries and sloppy burgers. This rings two alarm bells to me: either they are glamourising it (for being something cool) or they are mocking it (because people like them don’t touch that sort of grub). Either way, it’s quite disconcerting. Maybe it’s just a couple of different billion pound businesses partnering up to laugh at the poor unsuspecting consumers that we are, who eat up anything that is fed to us on billboards and they get to grab headlines and rake in some extra cash.

McDonalds at midnight in Hackney Central is FAR from glamourous, in fact, it’s a dive, and it’s depressing. And here we all are ogling at the designers and celebrities who endorse it, but only from their shiny five star hotel rooms, not from the unhygienic toilets of an East-end McDonald’s chain.

The idea itself isn’t new. Back in 2010, the Cool Hunter launched McFancy, a new creative project by TCA Access, who rebranded familiar fast food meals with a designer twist. The images are beautiful and the artwork really is tip top. The concept included the plans to launch “a restaurant that offers a traditional McDonald’s menu but packaged in a way that makes a playful yet stylish nod to the lifestyle of the highly desirable, influential consumers that attend Fashion Weeks.” They is something quite cool about this as a project, a concept, an artistic idea, a new stylish restaurant — but what about bringing this sort of collaboration to the catwalk?

Cool Hunter's McFancy

Cool Hunter’s McFancy

So fast forward four and a bit years and it’s become en vogue to bring fast food to the runway. But unlike this art project, it’s been delivered in a way that has a somewhat cheapened aesthetic. It’s all very bright, shiny and in your face. Moschino was one of the first to bring the idea of actually included a model delivering a McDonald’s meal tray down the runway and others may disagree but I thought it looked tacky. Is it meant to be ironic, or does it make sense commercially? What is it? It is a hilarious juxtaposition of a skinny model holding a fast food tray — are we meant to be laughing at this explicit oxymoron?

Moschino McDonalds

Moschino McDonalds

Then comes the celebrities, the mass media vehicles, following the trends and carrying forward any messages that the general public may have missed at first dibs at the fashion shows. The latest trend-setters to wear the Moschino McDonalds piece is Katy Perry, Jourdan Dunn and Rita Ora – don’t get me wrong, they look fab as always and I admire them both in their own ways, but to blatantly advertise McDonalds as an vacuous fashion statement seems very strange. At least those three are more likely to actually visit a McDonalds. Anna Dello Russo however definitely does not  have a personal brand that screams fast food. It’s as hilarious as Victoria Beckham signing up as the new face of Lidl. Either way though, these celebrities are not using their T-shirt space right now to brand any sort of initiative that is “for good”, they are mocking the fast food industry by having a “LOL” moment.

The same can be said for the Chanel supermarket, this year’s wacky hook by Largerfeld to launch a massive Chanel branded store with everything you’d find in Sainsbury’s but with a couture edge to it. I am a massive Chanel fan and ADORE their bags (even though still trying to scrape together the cash for one) but the whole thing cheapened the brand for me. The strange dread-lock hair for Cara Delevigne and Rihanna pretending to drink from a big carton of milk, both things not really something they’d do in their spare time, but I might be wrong.

Chanel Supermarket

Chanel Supermarket

The picture below is from this month’s Company magazine and was sort of what spurred me on to write this post. Who in their right mind would wear a bikini which resembles the inside of a Big Mac? I’ll tell you the only person who actually would: A MODEL. And only a model. No one in their right mind, or who is even the tiniest bit insecure about their body (which is unfortunately probably a large proportion of women who are normal) is going to wear that with confidence. Well I certainly wouldn’t. It’s the fashion industry poking fun at the fact that the fashion elite are so perfect and sleek that they can laugh ironically with their Brazilian blow dries and wear alien burger relish on their clothes and swimwear.

From @Companymagazine

From @Companymagazine

Fashion is always trying to break boundaries to deliver new and interesting concepts which I understand from someone who works in the media industry. But these new ideas shouldn’t be at the expense of glamourising unhealthy food just because the fashion industry can get away with being ironic, or trying to pretend that they have a normal attitude to food. I don’t think it’s good to be giving the fast food industry any more limelight (c’mon, it’s not good for us) and I certainly don’t like the air of pretence of showing size zero models pretending to scoff a burger every night. Sorry supermodels, but you can’t have your cake McDonalds and eat it. What happened to what our mums and teachers always told us, to just be healthy, and leave it at that?


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