What's With the Trend Towards Eating Disorder-Themed Fashion Items?

02/04/2014 at 04:21 PM ET

Jessica Alba SunglassesBauer-Griffin/GC

The fashion industry has often been criticized for promoting an unhealthy body image, whether through Photoshop or by employing models who may be unhealthy themselves. But in the past few years, the industry has been making strides, vowing to airbrush photos less, employ more diverse models (and mannequins) and to look out for models who may not be able to speak up for themselves. (For example, Vogue pledged to ban models under the age of 16 or “who appear to have an eating disorder.”)

Which is why we’re so surprised to see a recent trend of products hitting the market with disturbing themes or names. Jessica Alba recently was snapped wearing a pair of Thierry Lasry x Kelly Wearstler sunglasses named the “Anorexxxy.” We’re not sure why, but our guess is because you can see right through the clear frames. Charming.

RELATED PHOTOS: Vote on questionable star style right here!

Other high-profile retailers recently underwent scrutiny for similar items with controversial messaging: Urban Outfitters yanked an “Eat Less” shirt from their shelves after consumer outcry, while in January, Nordstrom pulled a pillow that said “To hell with beauty sleep. I want skinny sleep!”

We find this fad totally bizarre, and not at all in keeping with the more popular fashion movement to embrace all body types. (Even Abercrombie & Fitch is doing it!) So we’re wondering if this is something you’re seeing at other stores, or a strange one-off phenomenon? What are your thoughts on these products — dumb or disturbing? Let us know below.

–Alex Apatoff

FILED UNDER: Fashion

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Showing 14 comments

The world is full of on

I think people are too sensitive and want something to complain about. And by ‘people’ I mean the author of this article, or the boss that made them write it.

Isag on

While I agree this trend is disturbing, I also think People magazine is part of the problem with all their focus on losing weight and articles about celebrities who “pop back after baby”. Start looking in your own backyard, People!

hshaw on

Maybe we should yank all of the clothing off the shelves that have pictures of junk food on them. Can we wear shirts that say “put the fork down” or “you don’t have to eat everything on the plate”? I find it bizarre that we’re turning into a country were it’s shameful to be skinny, and “big is beautiful”, when obesity has become epidemic. Personally, I find chunky girls to be the most appealin, but, I like wearing my size three jeans.

mrsmass on

Wait a minute. Is this actually being posted on a website that has a section about bodies after baby? Seriously People, this is beyond hypocritical.

Ellyn Humleker on

I’m a recovering anorexic and I find all of this tremendously offensively. Its like these people still don’t quite get that ANOREXIA KILLS. It isn’t a way to lose weight and then stop. You lose weight and CAN’T stop. I was 65 pounds and in multi-organ failure for the THIRD time before treatment did anything for me. I had to look at my mothers grief-ravaged face over and over again as she slowly watched me slipping away. There is no joke here nothing funny. I don’t know why I’m still alive. It had to be some sort of miracle. The doctors gave me no chance yet here I am six years later…Bottom line to me is: Anorexia is NO joke, not even a little tongue-in-cheek one. It’s an insidious disease that kills everyday, without mercy.

Ledumb on

Pot, Kettle.

hypocrites. on

Says People Magazine, fawning all over skinny ideals. Clean yourselves up while you complain about everyone else glamorizing ED’s.

JMPW on

Kelly Wearstler has increasingly expressed a deeply troubling pro-ana position. First it was her defense of her emaciated models, her incredibly shrinking self and the Bon Appétit interview where she revealed that it’s juice and a few almonds that get her through her days. Now she has named her sunglass line ANOREXXY. It’s shameful to make light of a mental illness and disease that effects so many and claims so many lives.

MORTALITY RATES

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover.

The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.

20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.

Jennifer Denise Ouellette on

I am the mother of a daughter in recovery from anorexia, and the originating force behind the social media campaign that led to Thierry Lasry changing the name of the sunglasses on 3/17/14. I would love the chance to speak with you about how the campaign took off and why it is so important to us (Mothers and Others Against Eating Disorders) to EDucate the world–eating disorders are not a style statement, they are a deadly disease. I’ve not yet seen a pair of “Chemothin” sunglasses! I tweet at @jugglingjenn and use hashtag #MAEDvocates.

JAS on

Eating Disorders are a very serious mental illness that takes more lives than all others. Research has shown that it is a neurological disorder than some are predisposed to. People don’t realize that EDs are not a choice. Any product that encourages EDs are shameful. #EDucate #MAEDvocates

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