Friday, August 26, 2011

People I Do Not Covet: Andrej Pejic

It is rare for me to publicly criticize any individual, because more than anything I hate confrontation, and expressing discontent outright is the surest path to a showdown. But from time to time, I feel the need to speak out, and this is one of those occasions. So.

Let it be known that I am sick of Andrej Pejic. Here we have a man modeling fashion meant for women, thereby further perpetuating a disgustingly narrow beauty ideal that has damaged many women, including female fashion models and average ladies.

Let me clarify: it is absolutely NOT Pejic's androgyny that bothers me. Hell, I'm practically in love with David Bowie, who is the very definition of androgyny. And I will even defend Pejic's cover of Dossier, which was censored by both Barnes and Noble AND Borders because he was topless--and (I feel) obviously male--but was also wearing curlers in his long blond hair. He has the right to live his own life any way he chooses, and I am not opposed to him as a person (I'm sure he's a wonderful young man).

However, what I CANNOT accept is a man who is lauded as a paragon of female beauty. Women have enough trouble because of the fashion industry without a man coming along with his extremely small frame and strutting in women’s clothing. This only strengthens the idea that women should be unhealthily thin and without curves, an idea which has been promoted by the fashion industry for far too long. In other words, it's not really Andrej Pejic who bothers me; it's what he represents.

So this is my plea (I hope you’re listening, fashion insiders): PLEASE continue to support Pejic as a human being; he deserves to be recognized as a unique entity. But we must open the fashion field up to women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and identities—transgendered and transexual women included. Otherwise, the consequences will continue to pile up.



  1. The reality of Andrej reinforces the belief I've had almost all my life and that is that most designers do NOT design clothes for women but rather for young skinny males that they'd like to become their lovers.

    This belief is reinforced every time I see a model that looks like a little boy parade on the catwalk. Maybe we should ban, not the skinny models, but the idea that lays behind the fashion designers use of girls that look like little boys on the catwalk. Why do we allow the idea that women should look like little boys just so designers can have a sexual thrill?

  2. While I understand your point, I think it's dangerous to make an outright connection between a designer's sexuality and the product that he/she puts out. There are, after all, some notable exceptions to the gay-designer cliche: Oscar de la Renta, Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren, and Rick Owens, for example. Let's take a look at Owens: while God knows I love me some of his designs, he certainly perpetuates the skinny-model phenomenon, both in his menswear ( and his womenswear (, although methinks that might be an outgrowth--however twisted--of his minimalist approach to fashion. Then there's 2009's Ralph Lauren Photoshop faux-pas ( It's really notable that the model, Filippa Hamilton, has appeared in numerous other Lauren ads, looking more or less healthy, if decidedly on the small side ( And, of course, there are the many underage--and thus underdeveloped--girls working in the industry, some as young as 14, who further add to this boyish image. But we should also take into consideration the fact that men are not the only designers promoting this ideal: Miuccia Prada ( and Behnaz Sarafpour ( come to mind, as do fashion plates-cum-designers Victoria Beckham ( and Rachel Zoe (; all of these women are heterosexual and married to men who are decidedly un-little-boyish and not particularly effeminate.

    Now, having said those things, I absolutely agree that many designers are out of touch with what real women look like. Karl Lagerfeld--he of the dramatic sartorially-motivated weight loss( sort of notorious for his fat phobia ( Calvin Klein the brand is well-known for using overly slim models like Kate Moss ( and, more recently, the allegedly curvy Lara Stone, who, in fact, is really not, though some people seem to believe otherwise ( So what about average or overweight ladies--Beth Ditto and Crystal Renn excluded, as they each have loads of love heaped on them? They get so little good attention that I sometimes wonder if designers have mentally blocked their existence. Michael Kors calls it pretty well, making the distinction between fat and "fashion fat" (

    Luckily, there are those out there who are concerned with turning the tide. For example, after a spate of eating-disorder-related injuries and deaths in the modeling community over the past few years (, some fashion fixtures--Kors included--banded together to promote healthier bodies. Is it enough? No, not yet. But is it a step in the right direction? Absolutely.

    With New York Fashion Week upon us, it remains to be seen if these changes will take place quickly enough. I'm also interested to see in which shows--if any--Pejic walks, either as himself or a replacement for a female model. One can only hope that the impact is localized and that magazine editors, who have so much influence over the fashion scene, take his presence with a grain of salt.

  3. Actually this is not precisely true. Andrej's measurements are 25in waist, and 35in hips, this actually puts him right in the middle of female waist to hip ratios, it's why he can wear wome's clothes unaltered, he has a female bone structure. The problem is, those measurements in combination with his height that makes everything impossible. For a girl to scale his 6'2" 110lb frame down to 5'4", she'd have to tip the scale at around 90lb. Can you say anorexia? In fact Andrej looks pretty skeletal too. Can't be healthy.