There’s no doubt the fashion industry has made strides toward size diversity and inclusivity. But for Emily Ratajkowski, there are still some models are too thin. After walking in 2018’s Milan Fashion Week, the 27-year-old spoke to Teen Vogue about how she still saw models who were underweight and underage, despite laws to prevent this.
Ratajkowski, who walked for Versace and Dolce & Gabbana at 2018 Milan Fashion Week, said she supports precautions, such as models providing doctor’s notes stating that they’re a healthy weight, but believes they aren’t enough.
“To be honest, coming off of fashion week, there are still girls who are definitely under BMI laws and definitely under 18,” Ratajkowski said. “So I think there are a lot of conversations that are happening. But do I think that the fashion world is actually adjusting? Not at all. I really hope that that starts to happen because like I said to you earlier, I think fashion can be an amazingly empowering tool that women can use. I don’t see that at shows.”
Though size diversity is slow-moving, Ratajkowski does see improvement in how models are treated and how they have more agency now, rather than simply being the face for a brand. She cites herself and her transition from a model to a businesswoman as a an example.
“I’m lucky enough to spend time with supermodels from the 90’s and talk to them about their experiences, and they had no control over their image at all—they were completely at the mercy of fashion editors, photographers, and everyone else except themselves,” Ratajkowski said. “All the time, I feel so grateful for the fact that I have my own agency and a way of branding myself that I think is really empowering and makes me more of a businesswoman than just a face. That’s definitely a positive side to where things have gone within the fashion world.”
As for her advice for younger women, Ratajkowski wants future generations to stop being so hard on themselves, explaining that many of their pressures and insecurities are from a “sexist culture” rather than something that’s actually wrong. She urged young women to see through that and change the conversation for the next generation.
“Especially for young women, we have so much pressure on ourselves, and I think at 18 or 16 or even 22 or 32, it’s really natural to sort of go, ‘Whats wrong with me for people to be treating me this way?’ and the truth is, unfortunately, we live in a sexist culture that likes to put the responsibility on women, and it’s really unfortunate,” Ratajkowksi said. “But the more that we realize that—we don’t feel scared of putting ourselves out there, and instead of going to guilt or shame, we start feeling trustworthy of ourselves—the less that will happen for future generations.”