Narciso Rodriguez for Kohls. My thoughts.

by , under advertising, personal, Pirate

I’ve blogged about my body and about my health issues. (For those new here, I’m petite, very thin- and naturally so. Sounds like a dream, but there are a lot of health issues that come along with being underweight- and just as much scrutiny from people from assume that I’m thin because of eating disorders. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone.)

I am a huge fan of diversity in body shapes, and of fashion, too. So mark me surprised by this ad for the Narciso Rodriguez collection at Kohl’s.

I saw it, and actually had to rewind to watch it again.

In most of the outfits, the models are actually so thin that the clothes hangs off them. We aren’t talking about things draped off a woman’s silhouette. It’s color block dresses that are cut for breasts and curves that aren’t there.

And I’m someone who is thin and embraces her shape. I am comfortable with my bony shoulders and particularly sharp hip bones- that’s my body. I try to be as healthy as I can- I eat well and I exercise.

But this commercial proves that the fashion industry is deluded. In high fashion, they try to say that models need to be thin to show off the clothing better- but in this case, the clothes fit so badly that I wouldn’t even want to go into Kohl’s to see how it actually DOES fit. Not to mention that I don’t want to support a company that would greenlight an ad like this- an ad that clearly enforces an unhealthy ideal.

Am I alone in seeing this?

Update: Googling found this “lookbook” of images that they released of the collection. While the models aren’t as thin- I’m still not sure it’s much of an improvement. I still don’t get much of a feeling how the clothes look on real women.

  • Although I haven’t seen this ad, I see this a lot. I have the opposite problem to you, classified as morbidly obese, and I find shopping for women’s plus-size clothes online a nightmare. Some use truly skinny models, others use ones with curves, but not plus-size. You can’t get a sense for how the clothes will fit and so I don’t buy anything.

    Clothes are not a judgement, and yet the fashion industry seems to treat them as such. I know they’re trying to sell you on a fantasy, but honestly, getting it home and hating how it looks on you just demoralizes women instead of empowering them. Empowered women will buy more clothes 😛

  • Not alone. They have to throw their bodies into unnatural poses just to get the clothes to fill out at all. The clothes themselves are completely unflattering to their bodies, which means that they simply look like they’d be unflattering for everyone.

    Like Amy, I am on the obese side. I refuse to buy clothes online because it’s so much hassle to send them back when it doesn’t fit, which it never does because clothing sizes aren’t universal for women. There aren’t a whole lot of places in this city, big as it is, that cater to truly plus-sized women AND don’t treat us like we either want to wear a muumuu or that we want to wear the bigger version of the tiny clothes. IMO, a woman my size should NOT be wearing a damn miniskirt! It’s simply not flattering. I also don’t want to wear my mother’s clothes. How hard is it to treat us like everyone else?! (sorry, touchy subject. I loathe clothes shopping.)

  • Exactly! Honestly, if more ads were willing to use a spectrum of models to show off their clothes- even showing the ends of those spectrums… more people would actually buy them.

    I do see it a lot, too. Mostly with runway models, and not usually so extremely for the bigger stores. Fantasies are nice, but it just messes with everyone to some degree. 🙁

  • I want to abduct these women and get them away from the people who tell them that this is healthy. 🙁

    Frankly, I find it abhorrent that designers only try to make close for a narrow window of sizes and then just sort of expand the designs for everyone else- you wind up with ill-fitting clothing. With the designer who freaked out at having to work with a normal sized woman and insulted her the entire time, it illustrated the painful truth- designers these days aren’t taught about working with different body types. Lazily, they’re given one mold that women are supposed to fit into.

    Obviously, this infuriated me if I couldn’t even be bothered to try to write an informative post about Sandy and had to share this. Just… ugh.

  • Sarah

    I actually just saw this commercial and was extremely shocked and disappointed. I just emailed a complaint on Kohl’s corporate site. I googled to try to find a copy of the commercial and found your writing about it. I hope others will take the time to let them now how what a terrible example this kind of commercial is for all the women and young girls who would shop there. I thought one of the models looked like she was on death’s door. She certainly did not look healthy and I thought the clothes looked terrible on them.

  • I really hope they do. On the most simplistic level, it fails as an ad. I know I don’t want to buy anything from the collection based on how the clothes looked. And on a more important level, it makes me question whether or not I want to buy something from a company that would even think this ad was okay.

    The thinner one really does look completely unhealthy… and all I can hope is that somehow someway she meet someone who helps her get healthier.

    Thanks for commenting, Sarah!

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  • azblackwidow

    I google the commercial because I just saw it on TV and was so shocked. And I found you site. You are all dead on. Do we wonder with crap like this on TV why so many of our young girls are anorexic?

  • oneprplrose

    It was scary to me as well.

  • Colliemahma

    I was stunned by this ad. With a preteen daughter, body image is important. Especially healthy body image. Those women in the Kohl’s ad are disturbingly thin and I am unclear as to whom the ad is targeted and why such a body type is desired for the ad.

  • Jessica

    Totally. I was googling Kohl’s commericial to see if there was public outrage about this commercial. It’s really extreme. They look like skeletons.

  • Thanks for commenting! I do think it’s completely outrageous- I’m amazed there hasn’t been more of an outcry. (You can visit their site and let them know how you feel! )

  • I’m sure they were trying to attract the same sort of crowd that the Missoni collection at Target did- but I saw the people who bought the Missoni, myself included. They were real women. Kohl’s is definitely missing the mark ad-wise, and certainly sending the wrong message.

    Thank you so much for commenting. This ad continues to bother me- we should embrace all sizes, but they’re obviously unhealthy.

    Use this link to let Kohl’s know how you feel.

  • Emily

    I googled this to see if anyone else was as disgusted as me. I don’t understand.. Kohl’s is supposed to be for the average person – they do NOT look like the average woman. I thought this must have been a high end designer, and then to see that it was Kohl’s was shocking and disappointing.

  • just me

    I completely agree, all I could think when seeing this was “is this the new look…heroin chic?” Absolutely awful and just downright ugly.

  • Thanks for commenting! I’ve never been much of a Kohl’s shopper (we only just got one nearby), but I have zero desire to support them now. Any company that thinks that this commercial sends the right messages isn’t a company I want to support.

  • I was appalled when I saw this ad. I encourage anyone who feels the ads are perpetuating dangerous images of anorexic thinness to email Kohls and complain. I notified Kohls that I will be boycotting their stores as long as these ads are running,

  • Am I the only one who thinks that one of those girls is a boy? (Go to the 8th second, and I think it’s the one on the left). That would just be so awesome.