By Renata D’Aliesio
Ryerson’s catwalks are not for small women.
“Females over the Height of 5’7” ONLY! All others will be denied an Audition!!!” reads a sign posted by first-year fashion students. The poster advertised auditions which took place over two weeks ago at Ryerson for the Women’s Wear Fashion Show.
While stating height requirements is nothing new, least year’s director of the Women’s Wear Fashion Show does not agree with the choice of words used in the poster.
“When I read the sign I did have a problem with the bottom line,” said Lisa Palozzi, a second-year fashion student. “I think they could have worded it differently.”
Tayaba Gafri, director of casting for this year’s show, admits she made a poor choice when writing up the poster.
“I could have worded it a little bit nicer. I knew after I drafted it some girls would find it offensive,” said Gafri.
The first-year fashion student said the decision to include the height requirements are necessary to adhere to the professional standards set by the fashion industry. Models over 5’7” are needed to git the skirts and shirts designed by the students. Measurement specifications are given to them at the beginning of the year by their professors.
But Duck, Palozzi and Gafri admit a girl who is a few inches short of 5’7” could wear a higher heel to make up the difference.
Being 5’3”, Jennifer Welsh of Ryerson Women’s Network says she feels height discrimination all the time. She believes it is all a part of the unrealistic image society has of women.
Gafri would like to see the fashion industry’s standards change. She believes today’s waif-like models portray an unhealthy image. But she does not forsee the flat-chested, thin, girlish figure going away any time soon.
“It’s cheaper for designers to make clothes for skinny women,” says Gafri.