Model Mayhem: A PR Crisis

Write about a public relations crisis and your impression of how it was handled. Or, your impressions of a corporate communications issue you are familiar with. Did the communications consider all
publics? What might you have done differently?

In 2006, Uruguayan model, Luisel Ramos died. And it all happened only minutes after stepping off of the runway in Montevideo. Uruguay. This isn’t current news; this is a moment in fashion history. Ramos was autopsy reassured a nervous national audience that the model died of a heart attack, although much speculation was made about her incredibly underweight body.

Soon after the tragedy, Madrid, one of the world’s fashion capitals rejected 5 of 69 models for their annual fashion show. Britain then announced that no model a size zero or below would be permitted to walk the runway during their resident fashion week.

Needless to say, I was quite pleased to read about both, especially Madrid’s response to the late Ramos. Although I think much more should have been done. A formal ceremony should have commenced the following major fashion shows, and models should
be provided with information on how and where they can get help if they are battling with an eating disorder. But why is the magical world of fashion so caught up on body size? Seasoned style experts insist that the model is simply a mannequin for the latest threads. But how can that be when women in the fashion industry are constantly relying on maintaining an abnormally low body weight in order to remain employed?

And why is it that only six short years late, after Ramos’ passing, models are back to waif thin proportions?

Unfortunately, in the fashion industry I believe it starts at the top. It takes one influential, a true mover and shaker to shift the ways of the business. Question is, who is going to step up to the challenge?

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” -Sophia Loren


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