A photo of the model in a loose blue dress and giant orange sunglasses was featured on the store Web site’s homepage and as part of a campaign “Prim and Polished,” which promises “retro styles with a serious dose of ladylike appeal.”
“For girls to see pictures of models who are this thin suggests that it’s OK to be like that but it’s clearly not,” Helen Davies of the U.K.-based anorexia charity Beat told the Daily Mail newspaper. “Topshop needs to take some responsibility and use healthy models.”
Davies suggested the model was wearing a British size four, or American size zero, clothes. But Topshop spokesman Andrew Leahy insists the model Codie Young, who is Australian and has previously modeled for Chanel, wears a British size eight, or American size two.
“Codie is a happy young woman, and her proportions look exaggerated because it was shot at an angle from below,” Leahy said. “It wasn’t intentional, but in retrospect we regret we shot her in that way.”
By Monday, Topshop had taken the photo down and replaced it with another photo of Young in which she appeared less thin:
But campaigners say the model’s vacant expression in both photos clearly indicates undereating.
“The girl looks ill,” Karen Easthall, who runs an anorexia support group in Norfolk, told the Daily Mail. “I dread to think how she looks under her clothes.”
A mother of a teenager who battled anorexia told the Daily Mail that Topshop “should be ashamed of themselves.”
Topshop model Kate Moss sparked controversy in 2009 after she said in an interview that she lived by the motto: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Read an interview with Codie Young, in which she talks about being grateful Chanel served pancakes after their show.
Update, Tuesday 9:35 a.m.
I am very happy with my body and how I look because its apart of who I am! Throughout my entire childhood I was called anorexic and people would ask if I was bulimic. And it was really hard sometimes for me to deal with as I have always been this way.
You know what some people are just naturally skinny and even if I tried to put on weight it wouldn't matter, because it doesn't matter what I eat, I dont put it on.
And finally yes okay I maybe an American size 0-2 and a UK size 8 so what. There are overweight/obese people who are a size 34 or 18 but know one says anything to them because you don't want to affend them! Just because someone eats a lot doesn't make them healthy. Just like not eating anything doesnt make you healthy.