High street giant Topshop succumbed to the pressure of an eating disorder charity yesterday, removing an image of 18-year-old model Codie Young from their website after campaigners alleged the image could encourage anorexia.
The original image which showed the Australian teenager in a pair of retro sunglasses and blue shirt dress, has now been replaced with another image of Ms Young.
Karen Easthall, who runs an anorexia support group in Norfolk, told the Daily Mail that Ms Young appeared to be a size zero, and that Topshop should know that publishing "a disturbing picture of a stick-thin model can cause problems with young girls, who may try to copy them".
Topshop has responded to the Mail's claims that the oversize sunglasses were chosen "to hide sunken eyes – a symptom of under-eating". Andrew Leahy, its head of publicity, responded: "Topshop is confident that Codie is a healthy young woman and we do not feel it necessary to remove her from our imagery... However, we do recognise regretfully that the angle this image has been shot at may accentuate Codie's proportions, making her head look bigger and neck longer in proportion to her body. Codie does not have the sunken eyes referred to in your piece – the sunglasses are featured because we retail them and they make up part of the look."
Ms Young said: "I am very happy with my body and how I look because it's a part of who I am!... Throughout my entire childhood I was called anorexic and people would ask if I was bulimic."