London is invaded by size-zero models (only this time they're men)

To the uninformed they look like the kind of nerdy boys that couldn't get the girl at the school disco, but after years of losing out to their beefy peers, the skinny male is having his day. As London Fashion Week kicks off this weekend, stick-thin men will be parading the catwalks promoting an ideal of male beauty that is a far cry from the bulked-up models of the Eighties and Nineties.

But as indie kids and fashionistas across the country squeeze themselves into the latest drainpipe jeans, fashion's move towards a male size zero has a more serious consequence: it heralds an era where men – like women – feel pressure to conform to a waif-like body image.

The masculine ideal has undergone a step change, putting pressure on young men to conform to a new body shape. The fashion expert and agent Johnathan Phang explained: "Suddenly, you've got lots of guys becoming models who never thought they could be; the sort of people who were normally considered weeds or nerdy-looking."

Phang believes there could be serious consequences for men who want to fit into the latest designs. "There is a pressure to conform to the size that's in fashion," he said. "If the trend is to be skinny, then men who follow fashion will want to be skinny so they can fit into the clothes. I'm 42 and fat as a house, so I've got nothing to prove, but if I was 20 now I would definitely want to be skinny and conform to my peers." This year the catwalks of Paris, Milan and, most noticeably, New York, were full of skeletal men in tightly fitting clothes. Like women before them, many male models are now expected to have an almost pre-pubescent frame.

It began in 2000 when the Christian Dior designer Hedi Slimane designed clothes for male models so young and slim that they barely looked old enough to be in secondary school. Since then the trend has hit the mainstream, with young men aspiring to the slimline look.

Devon Parsons, a male model agent at Select, said: "For the catwalk, the boy look is still ruling. In the Eighties and Nineties, it was very masculine and muscular; great tanned bodies and a really manly look. Now there's a trend to the more younger-looking, skinnier men."

Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ magazine, said that the recent trend for slimline men had proved problematic for the lifestyle publication. "Skinny models with skinny waists and skinny legs have been fashionable for the past few years, which makes it a problem when you're trying to photograph clothes that men might actually want to buy," he said.

"The sort of male models who have been fashionable recently don't look like they can afford to wear the clothes they're wearing, which at GQ's end of the market is something of a problem."

Eating-disorder charities have raised more serious concerns. A spokesman from the charity Beat said: "There does seem to be a growing trend towards men's clothes being designed for the slimmer male physique, and we're certainly aware of more men with eating disorders."

But the British Fashion Council admitted yesterday that a proposed scheme of health certificates for models – one of many suggestions after last year's inquiry into models' health – would not succeed until it was backed internationally

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

    £16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map