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ISSUE 119 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/14/2005

Kate Moss' snorting snafu

By Jean Mullins
News Editor

Friday, October 14, 2005

I have long thought that there is a drug which keeps models looking unearthly skinny and beautiful. I now know that this drug is cocaine.

Kate Moss – purveyor of world-class clothes and fashion role model for many women all over the world – was caught on film last month snorting the drug in a recording studio.

Amidst the scandal that unfolded in the following weeks (Moss was dropped as a spokesperson by big-name fashion houses Chanel, Burberry and H&M after she was caught), many in the fashion business and those in the glossy world of writing about the fashion business made the point that drug and alcohol abuse runs rampant in fashion.

An article in The New York Times reports that models, designers, makeup artists and anyone connected to fashion does drugs. Models snort cocaine in the bathroom during photo shoots, designers keep drug dealers on staff and champagne is the drink of choice at every single fashion event.

So why is Moss being held up as a symbol of fashion divas gone wrong? Why are these companies pretending that Moss’ use of illegal drugs is shocking information? Surely Moss may even have used cocaine at one of their photo shoots at some time.

Is Moss a scapegoat while the rest of the industry ignores its own harsh reality? Probably. Is this fair? No.

Moss is simply representative of a greater problem with lives of excess. Is she guilty? Yes. Is it her fault? Yes. But the industry can’t pretend that it is innocent of their same crimes.

While some make the excuse that models are put under a lot of pressure to look good and be energetic while working long days, such excuses come up short. Other people, in more important businesses (medicine, law, used car sales, even college students) work longer days while doing more physically and mentally demanding things than wearing clothes.

I am not interested in hearing that life is stressful and hard. I think that overall the fashion industry, one which influences millions of people, fails to give women and men a realistic picture of life.

I do not sit around in my underwear with crazy hair at three o’clock in the afternoon with 20 other people in their underwear in my fabulous apartment. No one does. So stop telling me through countless pictures that this is the epitome of life, because it’s not.

When Moss first began to come into her own as a supermodel, she was praised for her heroin-chic look (she looked like an emaciated heroin addict). Then, new models came on the scene (such as Gisele Bundchen) and fashion adopted a “healthy body, healthy glow” look; it has stuck with that for awhile.

But, these models don’t actually look healthy. Getting a tan does not make you look any less emaciated. They are still very skinny, and apparently also use drugs.

Fashion should spend less time praising body types and more time praising true fashion – stop praising the body wearing the clothes and start praising the person’s sense of style, or better yet, his or her sense of self.

I love glamorous clothes as much as anyone. But fashion should present the whole package: role models for society who keep it together in every aspect of their lives.

Every year, Vogue magazine releases issues with guides for women to dress for their body types or their ages. I was thrilled to read the September 2005 issue of Vogue in which the magazine interviewed Jane Goodall, the famed biologist, as one example of fashion at any age.

Goodall, in her 60s, is truly the whole package: a ground-breaking biologist, a philanthropist in the truest sense through her Goodall Foundation, a mother and wife, and, in her own, unassuming, simplistic and perhaps even embarrassed way, a fashion icon.

The fashion industry needs to sell real people, not two-dimensional shadows of reality. It needs to stop denying that it has a problem with drugs and alcohol. And it needs to stop treating Moss like a pariah – she is neither the first nor the last model with a drug problem.

News editor Jean Mullins is a junior from Portland, Ore. She majors in English and biomedical studies.

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