Article: ASOS backlash for listing UK size 10 Pull&Bear garment as ‘large’

Below shows an article which I came across online showcasing how ASOS, even though an extremely positive online platform within the fashion industry can still make errors, allowing for public and consumer backlash, which potentially could damage their reputation and what they have worked for and achieved via their social responsibility teams.

In addition, the article gives examples of how this can impact consumers via their ‘tweets’ and comments which have been made, stating how damaging such ‘technical errors’ can be in regard to how they are perceived. A UK size 10 is NOT large; the average dress size in the UK is a size 14, and even that is NOT large. Using XS, S, M and L in general I feel is generalising and can be perceived as hurtful and damaging to body image issues, especially those who are more conscious of their bodies than those who are more accepting.

Even though I love ASOS and what they work for and stand for based on my research and interviews to date in semester 2, I do feel that this was a critical error and will take some work to allow their consumers to trust them again.

The following article has been taken from BBC Newsbeat, and can be found here.

Last accessed: 19th May 2017.

ASOS and Pull & Bear have been criticised on social media for describing a pair of size 10 shorts as “large”.

Twitter user Hollie posted a screenshot of the item.

Since then, many people have left comments including: “No wonder girls think they’re fat when a large is a size 10.”

ASOS has apologised for the listing of the item and has called it a “technical glitch”.

Since sharing the tweet, it’s had more than 2000 likes and has been shared nearly 600 times.

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Some also show concern that this type of sizing could promote a negative perception of body image for women.

“I was size 10 once in my life ever and it was when I was anorexic,” says Maeve McQuillan. “Calling it ‘large’ is not good,” she adds.

Pull & Bear is owned by Spanish company Inditex, who also run Zara, Bershka and Mango.

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The size guide from the Pull & Bear website matches up sizes XS-XL with European sizes but not UK ones.

It lists a ‘Large’ here as a EU 40, which in UK sizing would be a 14, not a 10.

The online brand Glamorous uses sizes Small, Medium and Large and lists them as a 10, 12 and 14 respectively.

Other stores Topshop, Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo list their shorts by dress size.

ASOS said in a statement: “We’re really sorry for the confusion caused by the technical glitch, which meant certain Pull & Bear sizes weren’t represented properly. This particular style has now been fixed and back online.”

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Professional Context – The Village Bookstore, Leeds – Enquiry: Local Exposure & Stocking

As I am hoping to publish my magazine and hopefully get a few copies stocked locally, nationally and hopefully even internationally, I have began researching into potential stockists, allowing for exposure for my independent magazine.

The Village Bookstore in Leeds is known for stocking independent magazines and books derived around design, fashion and art, and therefore felt this could be a great local outlet for my magazine.

https://villagebooks.co

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Below shows a range of the Independent ‘Fashion’ magazines which they stock online. They stock more online than in store, however even if my magazine was stocked online I could promote this via Instagram and the magazine website to generate sales and interest, promoting my FMP and professional practice on both a local, national and international scale, where as in store this would only reach a local audience.

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(Last Accessed: 20th May 2017)

I also find The Village and their magazines as shown above a great source of aesthetic inspiration in regard to graphic design and cover design.

Following this research, I sent an enquiry email to The Village, which can be seen below. I also plan on speaking to them in person next time I am in Leeds city centre to follow up on my email.

Hi there,I hope that you are well! 

I am wanting to enquire about how I would stock a magazine in your store? I am currently completing my FMP at LCA in Fashion Communication and I am designing, writing and producing a magazine which reveals the truths of the Fashion and Beauty Industries, primarily looking at the positives and negatives of these at a time where social media is rife and has the danger to out-do magazine whilst also impacting on the viewers self-perception. My magazine is based on interviews I carried out in the UK and Japan, looking at this cross culturally speaking to the likes of ASOS and Vogue as well as a range of influencers in both countries, as well as featuring satirical advertisements and editorials. 

I am hoping to publish my magazine in order to share my findings and educate readers alike based on the current interest in these industries at the minute, and would be really interested in stocking some copies at The Village once they are completed and printed?

I hope you can help with my enquiry!

Many thanks and hope to speak with you soon,

Danielle Muntyan

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Fancy Pop Design by PIE Books featuring my Jade Clark Barbie Artwork

In regard to professional context and career development, I have been published in another design book (now in 6 books), and felt as the work featured (Jade Clark: Barbie) is fashion based that is is a great source of promotion for my graphic design work in this industry on an International scale. The book is Japanese and is published by PIE Books. I have previously gained freelance work from Laurence King and Magma Publications via being spotted in the book Behind Collections by Victionary, and hope that this book achieves similar results.

I am particularly happy with the however as much of my research and practical work has been inspired and led by my research in Japan, I hope to perhaps gain Japanese clients and feel this book could be the perfect outlet to further reach an international audience, and potentially work with Japanese fashion brands.


Source: http://pie.co.jp/search/detail.php?ID=4894

Last accessed: 20th May 2017

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The Hepworth: Disobedient Bodies by JW Anderson

‘In this elegant, exciting project, the fashion pieces that Anderson has chosen to isolate and re-contextualize certainly take on a potency and a power to move that transcends the desire and allure of the runway.’ – Vogue

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Image Source: http://www.hepworthwakefield.org/disobedient-bodies/ (Last Accessed: 17th May 2017)

I found this exhibition really interesting as fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, has taken it upon himself to explore the human form in art in relation to fashion and design as two separate but combined entities and fields, noting how the human form itself has been perceived and relayed by different artists and designers across both the 20th and 21st centuries, utilising a series of sculptures curated with a range of garments from a combination of successful designers and fashion houses. I felt that this collaborative approach allowed for different messages and meanings to be interpreted depending on the particular piece one was viewing.

I find that with my current project, it is interesting to think that designers have to account for the way which bodies are put on the runway and how they are perceived through their shape and the shape created by the garments and forms designed for them. With this being said, I also felt that there were underlying elements of gender issues being noted through the pieces in the exhibition, especially looking at the shape of the forms which are on display, both in regard to the famous and well recognised sculptures juxtaposed with garments.

Gender, along with body and body image, is something which I am talking about in my FMP magazine and how rising male stars in the cosmetic and beauty industry have only been recently ‘accepted’, where as in fashion this appears to also be the case, with slow and late transitions. Menswear collections have always been around, but have only taken major precedent on the runways in the past 2 decades, being seen now as an equal and just as lucrative/important territory to work within, promote and to feel passionate about. In addition, ‘male sculptures’ wearing female clothes echoes a political argument of transgender and gender confusion which is now more common and again, accepted than ever before. I felt that this was also shown really well by the complementary photography shown throughout the exhbition by Jamie Hawkesworth which brought these feelings and ideologies to life in a more to the point manner.

I also felt that the name ‘disobedient bodies’ is more relevant than ever in regard to not only my project but current day society and how the media and fashion industries put pressure on one to conform and be, look and act a certain way. The idea of not complying and showcasing a range of ‘bodies’, silhouettes and shapes allows for one to feel more confident and comfortable with their own identities rather than needing to ‘fit in’, and is also quite empowering. I also found that Anderson taking 123 photos of school children wearing the garments shown in the exhibition even more powerful, in the sense gives a critical view and angle proving that size, body and shape can be juxtaposed in new and unseen ways to prove a point of how we reimagine or subvert a body from what is expected into something new, as well as almost stating to expect the unexpected within the worlds of fashion and art.

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Professional Context – Instagram Insights on Demographic, Gender & Posts

As I previously noted I have set up an Instagram account for my FMP. Since setting this up, I have made the account a ‘business account’ and have now the title ‘magazine’ below my name, making it more searchable and accessible across local, national and international audiences.

In addition, having a business account allows for ‘insights’ on your posts and demographics to be seen allowing for more targeted posts to be posted in the future, whilst also being able to see which demographics are looking at my posts, including, age, gender and location, allowing to see whether my posts are having national, international and local visibility, whilst also being able to see if my target audience of 18-24 year old females for the magazine is being met.

Below shows how many impressions have been made from the account since it was set up. Impressions means how many times collectively the posts have been seen by Instagram users.

Below also shows which posts are most popular – being seen the most, liked, or commented on the most. This allows me to see which posts are being received best so I can post more of this kind in order to stimulate interest and a gain a larger following for my magazine. I want to do this incase my magazine is ever expanded into a series and is published, therefore having a base of interested readers, whilst also making Instagram users aware of my research and findings, promoting this and promoting my professional context of a graphic designer working within the fashion and beauty industries.

Below shows demographic data on my followers.

  • 56% females – more than half are female, falling in line with my target audience, however 44% are also male, showcasing an interest from this demographic also. This makes me think that perhaps my magazine is actually more for both females AND males, opposed to simply females. This shows how the gender boundaries surrounding fashion, beauty and social media issues are blurring and becoming more neutral and generic.
  • Main age range of followers being between 18-34, primarily between the ages of 25-34. Even though I am gaining lots of followers and engagement between my pre determined target audience of 18-24 year old females, it is also evident that a slightly older audience are also interested in my content, research, findings and design, whilst makes me think perhaps my target audience for the magazine should be broadened allowing for a wider reach. It is clear from the data shown below that a wider range of people are interested in my content and the ideas surrounding these – social media issues, fashion and beauty.

  • Top locations are shown below, showing that even though the UK and the moment is the main source of followers, being local and national, my posts and magazine content is still reaching a further field, internationally, with the US, Australia, Spain and South Korea following. I am glad to see that the magazine is having an International audience also, and is something I will keep tracking.
  • Demographics also give the option to see cities. These top locations are, Leeds (as images have been tagged with Leeds as a location to generate local interest and press leading up to the end of year show and publishing of the magazine), London, Doncaster, Bradford and New York. This again shows a local, national and international context and audience to my FMP work and professional context as a graphic designer, researcher and now writer thanks to this project.

Below shows ‘Top Posts’ showing those posted only in the past 7 days. This information shows which posts have had the most views, again this will help with knowing which content to post in order to generate a larger following and reception. This changes daily due to newer posts gaining more ‘impressions’ and is something which I will continue to track.

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I have found the above insights really useful and reassuring that my magazine is targeting the right audience as initially thought, even if the ag bracket is larger than expected or initially stated.

I am planning on tracking this every 1-2 weeks, in order to see how this changes or stays the same as more content is developed, designed, created and posted in order to ensure that my magazine and instagram content remains within the correct demographic bracket, whilst also working towards gaining a larger following to share my findings with more people locally, nationally and internationally, whilst also aiming to generate press and publicity for both my FMP and professional context to help my future career.

I really would like to continue this magazine in my professional practice post MA, and build this around my career either as a freelancer or working as a graphic designer in a studio/agency environment working with fashion and beauty accounts. Hopefully, long term, I would like to build the magazine to be published in print and digitally on a website, allowing for submissions from different people around the world, which would enable ‘real’, current and relevant content to be continually used, following in the same vein as this addition, which is based on all of the research I have done to date through semester 1 & 2, including research trips, interviews, academic, theoretical and object-based research, for example.

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Professional Context – TedXYouth 

After a recent crit session and speaking with a friend and freelance client (Milk and Honey) who took part in the TedxYouth for Croydon talks several years ago, I decided to contact Ted Talks to enquire about how one goes about doing a talk. I felt like with the work I am doing and the research I have carried out and will continue to do, it would be a great platform to promote myself in regard to professional context, but to also educate an audience on my findings, particularly around my FMP and semester 2 cross-cultural studies looking and beauty and fashion in relation to social media, magazine and self-perception in a modern-day age of bloggers, influencers and celebrities  giving us higher expectations of ourselves in regard to body image and ‘beauty looks’.

In addition, this would open up my professional practice to a national, or potentially international audience and wider demographic, gaining personal promotion whilst working for a bigger, more educational and rooted cause.

I am currently waiting to hear back from TedxYouth regarding my enquiry email.

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Using Facebook for Magazine Feedback, Exposure and Instagram Promotion

I decided to promote the Instagram created through my own Facebook initially in order to generate some interest and followers, whilst also making those whom I know aware of my FMP (locally, nationally and internationally) as I plan on asking for submissions of imagery further down the line for a ‘selfie’ advertisement showcasing the realities and mental health impacts of social media, so thought it was good to get the word out to what I am doing.

In addition this alone raised some interest in regard to the educational element, with a friend whom is a teacher commenting, as shown below, in regard to if she could share the completed magazine with her students. Full correspondence can be seen below, however as in a crit it was suggested that I produce educational packs for schools (time permitting), I felt this was a good initial starting point.

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ASOS Image Enquiry Email

I recently spoke with my contacts at ASOS whom I met with and interviewed in February during Semester 2 in regard to sourcing imagery for my magazine. I wanted to see if it was possible to obtain imagery via ASOS themselves making the interview article and feature 100% real opposed to sourcing images online and citing them in my bibliography. I also thought it would make my magazine much more authentic. Correspondence, follow-ups and obtained imagery can be seen below.

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Obtained Imagery:

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Following this email trail, I contacted the UK press team with the below email, and also signed up for the Fashion Metrix database for ASOS which allows one to browse image galleries and download imagery. This is available only to specific people working in the Fashion Industry, and I am currently writing to see if my application has been successful. Names in the emails above and in the copy below have been removed for confidentiality whilst also applying good practice with the LCA Ethics Policy and Data Protection.

Email to Press Team:

Hi there,

I hope that you are well.

I was given your contact details via xxxxxx working in the Social Responsibility team at ASOS.

I am currently working on a magazine under LCA for my MA in Fashion Communications, which is a magazine I am producing, writing and editing, discussing the positive and negatives of the Fashion industry. I am currently in the process of writing an article regarding how positive ASOS are as an commerce outlet in regard to model welfare and diversity, among with other subjects following a meeting with xxxxxx and xxxxxxx at ASOS.

I am currently looking for imagery to correlate with this and wondered if you had any images available which I could use opposed to me taking some from online and citing them in my image references? I am looking for a range of images which showcase the diversity and positivity which ASOS brings to the fashion industry and wondered if you have any I could use or if not who I may be able to speak with regarding this? I feel it is better to speak directly with you regarding such topic as I am wanting my publication to be as real as possible incase this goes on to be published in the future.

I hope you can help with my enquiry.

Many thanks and hopefully speak with you soon.

Danielle
Update: 14th May 2017

I have since heard back from the press team and have been made a member of the ASOS Media Centre via GPS Radar, which has allowed me to access a range of imagery which can be used for my magazine, from campaign shoots to product shots. Imagery in the magazine has been updated accordingly to represent a diverse mix of ethnicities and body sizes, as well as using a range of male and female models which represents what ASOS stand for more than using the previous imagery of one female Caucasian model. 

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‘Porn Chic’ Editorial Visual Feature/Ads for Magazine

Following on from my previous post regarding ‘porn chic’ in the beauty industry, I began to develop a range of spread which would make up an editorial feature, being predominantly image-led with subtle, yet to the point copy, allowing for the reader to think about the association being made.

Below shows the initial design development, using cropped images from well-known/famous beauty bloggers’ Instagram account to showcase how glamour and sex are now being used to promote their accounts via social media. These spreads once created aesthetically reminded me of the controversial American Apparel campaigns utilising similar cropped visuals and minimal, yet key text. This objectification of women has been used for fashion advertising for years, and these spreads now aim to show how self-objectification is on the rise in order to gain followers and ‘likes’, whether this be for professional, career purposes or to boost self-esteem between this. An example of this can also be seen below.

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Image Source: last accessed 19th May 2017.

Furthermore, I also see bloggers such as these promoting themselves as an object, and how an object becomes an icon and how an icon can be seen as an object respectively. This is what the Objectification and Self-Objectification theories pose, with Fredrickson and Roberts (1998) stated that, “women’s bodies are looked at, evaluated and always potentially objectified” allowing one to consider that a woman may not actually be seen as a human by some, and just a commodity to evaluate and objectify, allowing for women to “internalise an observer’s perspective as a primary view of their physical selves” suggesting that one may then “monitor” themselves and react to these perspectives, making them “socialised to view and turn themselves in objects”.

In addition, this objectification and self-objectification can also be sexual, allowing for Sexual-Objectification to arise predominantly. Combined pressures of trying to maintain an image or promote oneself via social media using these theoretical channels and visual paths, can allow for negative impacts to arise such as mental health issues, eating disorders and and self-perception issues, with one potentially viewing themselves from a third person perspective (i.e. based on the followers or likes received per image, in this instance the cropped images used on the editorial spreads), opposed to a first person perspective, tainting their thoughts and therefore actions. This aim to change our bodies due to judgements, perceptions and objectification can alter the way we see ourselves hugely, with ’empirical’ studies showing that “women experience a discrepancy between their actual body and their ideal body” (Fallon & Rozin, 1984).

Updated spreads:

After looking at the spreads again a week or so after designing them, I decided to take off ‘porn chic’ from each spread, and to include an introductory spread titling the feature and giving a brief and to the point summary of its content, allowing it to be understand visually but also with context for those who may b unaware of previous examples of this in the fashion and beauty industries, and for those who are not also aware of the surrounding theoretical perspective which underpin this design work.

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Sources:

Fredrickson, B & Roberts, T (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. 173-176.
Noll, S & Fredrickson, B (1998). Objectification Theory. Psychology of Women, 22: Printed in the United States of America. 626-627

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