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Fashion retailer pulls catalogue with too-skinny models

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:37pm

Just when you thought any sense of corporate social responsibility to be extinct, Canadian fashion retailer La Maison Simons gives us cause for hope.

The family-owned company yanked its own 36-page-color fashion catalogue after receiving more than 200 complaints that the young models on its glossy pages displayed more bone than flesh. Company president Peter Simons apologized profusely for what is usually commonplace in the fashion world:

Those images are “destructive to a more vulnerable portion of the population which is exposed to anorexia. We are into social responsibility here. I’m fully aware of what it is and I’m taking full responsibility for (the catalogue). It’s my job to ensure that we are a constructive actor in the community. I should have done better. I should have seen it,” he said.

Mass media and even glamorization of an overly-thin ideal do not cause eating disorders, but they can certainly lead one down the path to developing one and serve as a constant source of triggers for people with eating disorders. I applaud La Maison Simons for their corporate responsibility and high ethical standards and urge other retailers to take note. I would also encourage La Maison Simons to continue its stand against the promotion of unhealthy body images by adopting and embracing body size diversity (and I’m not talking diversity as in a U.S. size 6) of the models featured on its website.

We don’t hesitate to tell companies when we’re angry, but companies need to hear confirmation when they do things right, too. Send a note to La Maison Simons here with your thoughts on their catalogue recall.

Cross-posted on

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