Just when we thought we'd laid size zero to sleep, along comes size triple zero!
"American shoppers," wrote Metro, "are now able to buy size triple zero clothes, with very small 23-inch waists, the same size waistband in fact as 6-8 year-old girls would typically wear."
The newspaper was writing off the back of a report from Grazia magazine, which highlighted the trend emerging in the US.
Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Alex B, a model and writer (and soon to be LUX model) who also represents older models, says: "Hollywood is constantly infantilising women and this trend is yet another instance of this unacceptable, ultimately coercive treatment of women. Women embracing such extreme thinness are bound to make themselves ill in the shorter and longer term. We should try to stop it."
Dr BJ Epstein, lecturer at the University of East Anglia and HuffPost UK blogger agrees. "What is wrong with our society that women feel they need to look like little children? This is incredibly disempowering, and it means that by focusing on women's looks, we're missing out on what women actually can contribute to the world."
Why would women do this to themselves? While we don't agree with the Mail Online saying it's a 'badge of honour', we do think that in such a highly competitive industry, this has - worryingly - become a new standard to work to.
Rivkie Baum, editor of Slink magazine and plus size campaigner says: "The fact that it exists is pretty frightening. While we can't assume that all women with a 23-inch waist are on a starvation diet,- any more than we can say size 16+ women eat all the time, it is a huge concern that we seem to have come full circle in terms of measuring our self worth by measuring our waists.
"The fact that this trend seems to be trickling down from celebrities and high street brands is hugely concerning as they need to consider their social responsibility to young and impressionable girls. Many professional models have a 24-inch waist (and are on average are still in their teens) - the fact that a triple zero is smaller than their average measurements, suggests that even those we hold as the most slender in our society no longer cut the mustard."
"There isn't anything wrong with having "pencil thin legs" or "sharp collar bones," as many may suggest. Bodies rest at different weights naturally; some of us are small and some are large.
"It's simply a fact of life. Seeing tiny bodies in our media isn't the problem; the permeation of the thought that smaller bodies are worth more is. Not only because it's simply not true, but because it affects all women whether we know it or not."
There may be some good to come out of this. Whereas size zero may have been attainable, because size triple zero is so extreme, it may actually unite women against the quest for super skinny.
"The fact that the triple zero body is so unattainable actually offers a positive opportunity though: to band all women together to reject the impossible body standards we see," says Jes.
"Until now, we have seen a separation of shapes, "straight sizes" vs. "plus sizes." Women occasionally choose to shoot the other down to build themselves up- thin women calling larger women "lazy" and large women calling thin women "sellouts." Neither of these are true, and maybe it takes a standard that no one can truly reach to help us realise that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER."
On Twitter, #triplezero is being discussed:
Dr Epstein adds: "Women come in a variety of sizes, and we should celebrate that. Likewise, we should celebrate women's different looks, skills, abilities, and contributions to society. A 23-inch waist is nothing to celebrate; it's shocking and depressing. When will we ever learn that women are more than objects, more than bodies?"
But, how can we stop the size zero pressure? As a first step I've taken size 6 off my options with immediate effect - I don't really want it to be seen as normal, when clearly for LUX customers it isn't. We need to stop the photoshoots that serve only the propagation and glorification of the starvation of hundreds of young women, and offer alternatives.
And I just wanted to balance all the negativity, by saying, in the world of handmade luxury leather lingerie, my best selling sizes remain 10 and 16, 12 running a close third. Very occasionally a size 8 or 14.
Happily, I've never been asked to make anything smaller than a size 6, and even size 6 is a rarity - twice since 2003.
Hopefully this means that Lux women, men and those in between love their bodies just the way they are.
This is the message we need to be spreading.
This summer, 2014 Lux will be fifteen years old. That's a lot of beautiful hand made pants.
And it means that we are the UK's first and oldest handmade luxury leather lingerie brand.
And just like our gorgeous leather, we are getting better with age.
Lux models stand in front of the Lux stall during the 2012 BBB fashion show.
After much consideration we've decided to retire from showing at BBB, Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar. We always have such a blast working there and meeting you guys, but increasingly over the past quarter, as the new website has taken off with such force, we found we simply can't do both. There are not enough hours in the week to prepare new displays for BBB and fulfill our International web orders. Standing down from BBB will let us catch our breath, and consolidate the new website, the new UltraLuxe range, and think about how to be physically more accessible to you, our lovely clients.
I want to thank all of you that made our time at BBB so memorable, and especially to the organisers Barbara and Dave, for their continuous encouragement and support, for without both of them and BBB, I'm quite sure we wouldn't be where we are now.
And I'm certain that BBB is the best of the fetish events on offer in the UK, and long may that stand.
We have an event penciled in for late summer in London and we'll post details as soon as we have them. Also in the pipework are a High Street Pop Up shop, and a larger studio showroom.
This is such an exciting period of growth for Lux and I'm really looking forward to the next 18 months or so.
Looking forward to seeing you soon in a whole new way!
The wearing of leather is an art form.
Rarely the subject of whim, it’s attended instead by planning and forethought.
Leather remains pure, like a good sentence, with context, structure and meaning, it tells you the story.
It’s both subversive and timeless. Some people will avoid you, will not give eye contact. And when you wear leather you control this. You purposefully affect the people around you. Socially it’s both selecting and magnetic.
When I wear leather I’m planning to stand out. Planning to shock . I know heads will turn. Because leather means control, even the youngest nubile boy or girl dressed or bound in leather screams power and attraction. Social norms crack like a cane across the thigh. Leather clad bodies roar at you and force your attention with a sexuality at once animal and regal. Transcending our overexposure to sexual imagery, leather whispers a deeper philosophy, reminding us that power is key and King.
Leather is in the cool zone that’s just outside the behaviour box. We are not in Kansas anymore. Not in San Francisco.
We are deep in the other, far older place. The quiet, subversive and historically deviant British subconscious. A subspace of aesthetics, of class and control, the source of many shades of creativity, where power dressing still rules. The smell of leather urges us to peek again behind that black door where servants are masters and revolution and anarchy reside.
Unlike the folly of latex, youthfully elastic but perished within months, leather abides.
Leather gets better with age.
With sparkly come-hither Xmas windows the High Street beckons. Look how they've made it nice for us, they want us to look really pretty and on trend.... or do they...
High Street clothes are made as quickly as possible, with every corner cut, profit is the driving force behind every stitch. Marketed to be quickly used and disposed of, these throw away clothes give ever-higher profits to the big fashion chains who feed on this wasteful and cyclical and cynical consumption pattern. We are all positively encouraged to buy cheap one off pieces, weekly or daily, and then purge our wardrobes every season, it's International Fashion Bulimia by any other name.
But, let's be very clear about this, fast fashion isn’t really about speed, but greed: selling more, making more money, with time, labour, and natural resources are neglected in the pursuit of maximum profits.
Within corsetry, the market is saturated with cheap satin corsets from China, and leather corsets from India. And these corsets are all over Ebay, and all over those cheap corset shops, and women's sex shops.
Yet the satin or leather in super-cheap, ‘value’ or fast fashion corsets is no quicker to make or use than any of my corsets, and it takes just as long to sew, and cut. So how do they get such low prices?
Well, short lead times and cheap clothes are only made possible by exploitation of labour and natural resources. Sweat shops, pesticides, pollution, child labour and animal cruelty are just some examples of how fast fashion chains and, by extension, retailers maintain their high profit margins on the super cheap stock that they sell.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can design a different system for ourselves that makes money while respecting the rights of workers and the environment, and produces beautiful and conscientious garments.
Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better.
Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based.
Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities and ecosystems.
Before you go out and buy brand new outfits, have a quick look at the Three point Slow Fashion checklist:
1. Turn your back on mass produced fashion (AKA "Fast-Fashion" or "McFashion") by buying from local designers, artisans and second hand shops. You'll be supporting small local business.
2. Choose sustainable clothing made with sustainable fabrics, ethically made and built with love to last a lifetime. Disposable clothes - the whole idea is being sold to us so that we buy more. More items, more often.
3. Choose quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends (a "classic" style), and are repairable.
Clothes are for life, not just for Christmas.
The difference between the two is that Bespoke items also include a series of fitting toiles to get a perfectly tailored garment, whereas Made to Measure items miss out the fitting process, and are instead made straight from your instructions.
Not all items need to be bespoke fit. Made to Measure is perfect for small things like undies, suspender belts, bras, many skirts and some underbust corsets. Ask Jules for advice if you are unsure.
Our made to measure range offers a slightly quicker, less expensive alternative as sometimes that's all that's needed.
We know that it’s not possible for everyone to get to our studio, in which case our bespoke service runs as follows:
Upon ordering, we'll send you a list of measurements to take at home which we'll use to make your personal pattern.
If you need help when taking measurements then Jules is only a phone call or email away.
Then we make your first fitting toile (a white cotton replica of your order) for you to try out in the comfort of your own home, or here at the studio.
It comes with a small checklist of things for you to look through, and some pins and pens for marking the toile.
You report back to us via email any alterations you wish.
It's a real help if you can send digital pictures with your instructions so that we can see in detail, how the toile fits you.
You are not on your own at this stage, Jules is always available by phone to help with your fitting.
You send the marked up toile back to us, we alter the paper pattern and send a new fitting out to you.
We would expect the following timeframes
underbust corsets 1-2 fittings
skirts 1-4 fittings
overbust corsets, trousers, jackets, aria corsets, wedding dresses, cocktail dresses and catsuit's 2-6 fittings
Only when you are entirely happy will we cut your final piece.
For those of you who would like the luxury of your own personal corsetiere, or you simply don't relish the idea of measuring at home we offer a full Atelier service, inclusive for bespoke clients. This is Jules preferred method of work, as there's no beating a skilled hand and eye during the fitting process.
Those of you using the Bespoke Service are most welcome to make an appointment to visit the studio at ANY stage to have your toile fitted personally by Jules. It's not compulsory to visit the studio, we can do it all by mail and internet, but it can be helpful to plan in some visits.
Small Items of Underwear: We've drawn up our own pattern blocks for these, and still cut each piece individually as ordered, so it's easy to tweak the fit for you.
You tell us of any special fitting instructions you want. In practice, we will always fix any problems with a finished item if it doesn't fit you perfectly.
For larger items:
We'll send you a list of measurements to take at home and a diagram, it's all really straight forward and should be easy - you'll need a friend to help you take the measurements. We will use these measurements to make your personal paper pattern.
If you need help when taking measurements then Jules is only a phone call or email away. Because we make each item to your measurements, we can not be held responsible for any mistakes you may make. But, in practice, if we spot a measurement that looks suspect we will always contact you to check
Please phone for your appointment on 0117 9851488 or 0781 7369221, or text or email, or drop us a line and Jules will phone you back.