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Eating disorder campaigners have criticised a mannequin manufacturer for bringing out a super-skinny male model that they say could encourage vulnerable men to starve themselves. Next month Rootstein, a British firm, will unveil its Young and Restless collection, which includes a mannequin with a 35in chest and a 27in waist, 11in smaller than the average British man. The company says the mannequins were modelled on teenage boys who were not anorexic, but were perfect for modelling the skinny jeans and slim tailoring made popular by stars such as Russell Brand.
But eating disorder charity Beat said more men were suffering from anorexia and bulimia, and that the mannequins portrayed an unrealistic and unattainable image. It said: "We are certainly aware of more males seeking help for their eating problems and it is recognised that they are more likely to develop an eating disorder as a result of trying to achieve a certain body shape and size.
Unrealistic images in the fashion world — such as these mannequins — and in the media still abound and the pressures they bring can lead to low self-esteem in often young and vulnerable people. Kevin Arpino, creative director at Rootstein, who deed the Young and Restless range, rejected any suggestion that his mannequins could fuel eating disorders. They were just teenagers — the oldest one was 20, I think — so they were pubescent really.
But I am sure that muscle boys will have their time again. He said the measurements for last season's mannequins were bigger, with a 38in chest and 30in waist, but that there was increasing demand for smaller models.
Dov Charney, chief executive of youth clothing brand American Apparel, has said his firm struggled to find mannequins to fit his brand's clothes. According to the latest NHS statistics, the average British male takes a 38in waist trouser.
Skinny male mannequins raise eating disorder fears. Eating disorder campaigners say mannequins with 27in waists portray unrealistic image and may encourage men to starve.
Rootstein's male mannequins with 27in waists — 11 inches below the national average. Photograph: Rootstein.
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