New Look sparks online outrage after t-shirt is accused of promoting fad diets.
‘My heart says donuts but my jeans say juicing’
I recently saw some of the fitness, food bloggers and social influencers that I follow tweeting and Instagraming furiously about this New Look release. I then saw an article on Independent online about this controversy.
The t-shirt costs just £5. Mental health is a topic that is very important to me and so this garment definitely caught my attention for all the wrong reasons. Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert is someone I follow on social media; I trust all of her advice regarding nutrition and wellbeing. She is an eating disorder specialist and took to Twitter to voice her concerns that the top perpetuates a disordered eating narrative.
I am always seeing fad diets floating around the Internet and media. A ‘diet’ in my opinion is not a lifestyle or in any way sustainable and often promotes a negative relationship with food. I very much believe in intuitive eating and listening to your body. Juicing, in my opinion, cuts out so many vital food groups and I can imagine energy levels suffer massively as a result. You should nourish your body with good wholesome food, rather than ‘detoxing’ with liquid!
I get quite disheartened when I am constantly seeing shaming and criticising of others on my social media. I for sure agree with Rhiannon when she tweeted, “Fashion should empower women to feel incredible, that’s how you win at marketing. Instead @NewLookFashion promote fad diets #clenseyourPR.”
New Look’s help team responded to Lambert, “We will pass this over to our Escalations Team to look into as a matter of urgency #NLCaroline.” The top has since been removed from the store, which to me shows the power that social media can have. Experts, as well as passionate individuals like me, come together to discuss what they believe can have a massive impact.
“It is irresponsible for such an influential brand to promote juicing and elude that it will help in becoming thin,” Lambert told The Independent. I feel that it is an inappropriate and risky message since it may resonate to youngsters and the also result will be a contribution to an unhealthy relationship with food. The line ‘my jeans say juicing’ to me implies that ‘juicing’ such as juice cleanses are synonymous with fitting into your jeans and maybe even losing weight.
The article stated that the top could be seen as encouraging restrictive fad diets, which nutrition experts have cited as hugely detrimental to one’s overall health.
However, this New Look top may not be the worst. I did not realise Urban Outfitters once produced and sold a shirt with a slogan saying, ‘Don’t eat’. High street retailers seem to be continually re-enforcing dangerous messages about diet and disordered eating to young people, who I feel are often the most vulnerable and impressionable customers.
The worst one I have witnessed recently is one by Amazon; a recent slogan hoodie trivialising eating disorders. It read, “Anorexia (an-uh-rek-see-uh) Like Bulimia, except with self control.” I really don’t know what brands are thinking when they produce things like this. I don’t know who they are aiming these items at and where they even get the ideas from! I feel that this could be extremely damaging to anyone suffering with either bulimia or anorexia and even those who already have a negative mindset towards food or any other illness.
I was surprised when the article stated that the eating disorder charity Beat, sees something like this time and time again in the fashion industry. The charity states that “…the ideals presented within the fashion industry can exacerbate and prolong the illness, and we would encourage the promotion of healthy eating habits and body images in this area.”
New Look have recently apologised for any offence they caused. I really hope we see a decline in the fashion Industry releasing garments like this. I feel that they have a responsibility to promote body confidence at any size and should move forward by creating quality clothing for customers of all body shapes.