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Karen Millen accused of promoting 'dangerous' body ideals with too-thin mannequin

By Vivian Hendriksz


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High street retailer Karen Millen has come under fire for using excessively skinny mannequins in one of its UK stores which are said to promote a 'dangerous' body image.

Earlier this week, mental health campaigned Laur Evans, was in one of Karen Millen's 130 UK stores when she spotted a mannequin complete with protruding collar bones and ribs, advertising one of the retailer's dresses. She then went on to tweet a photo of the mannequin, writing: "[TW:ED] @KarenMillen, why've you chosen to male collar bones and ribs so central to the marketing of this dress? Dangerous!" Evans used the acronyms, which stand for "trigger warning: eating disorder" to introduce her tweet, a term which is on social media channels to share concern regarding images which could promote unrealistic body images and led to an eating disorder.

Other users on Twitter were quick to respond to her tweet, questioning why the women's wear retailer would use such a mannequin.

In an interview with the Telegraph Wonder Women, Evans explained her reasoning behind her public outrage at the mannequin: "Collar bone and rib imagery is a core theme in 'thinspiration' that fuels, not just eating disorders, but the body dissatisfaction that permeates our culture. This mannequin is not about respecting diversity of body shapes, but using a very specific aesthetic to market this item. An aesthetic that I would argue is poorly thought through, and irresponsible."

"Karen Millen describe themselves, on their own website, as 'for the confident, uncompromising woman of today'," continued Evans. "They need to address the marketing angle they have chosen for this item, publicly and with sincerity, so that there are some 'confident women' left." Since the overly skinny mannequin took Twitter by storm, a company spokesperson for Karen Millen has come forward, apologizing for the mannequin.

"As a brand we celebrate a range of body sizes within our collections and offer size six through to 16. Both the mannequin and model you have seen representing Karen Millen are size 10, which is industry standard. No offence was meant and the intention is not to advertise a negative body image, but to focus on the style of the garment in both instances. We are sorry for any disappointment and upset this may have caused."

collar bone
Karen Millen