02/10/2014 08:22 BST | Updated 03/10/2014 06:59 BST

Stella McCartney Apologises For 'Appalling Image' Of 'Very Ill' Model On Instagram

Stella McCartney has apologised for posting an image of what some described as a "very ill" looking model on Instagram.

The picture in question showed model JiHye Park backstage at the brand's Paris Fashion Week show.

The image was captioned "Worn well!! X Stella," along with details of where fans could buy the outfit shown.

stella mccartney

Hundreds of Instagram users criticised the image for promoting an unhealthy body type, with one person writing: "Disgusting. That is not worn well, it’s hanging over bones."

Another comment read: "Appalling image. This young lady is clearly very ill and the body image being used is all that is wrong with the fashion world."

The brand has since removed the image of JiHye Park and replaced it with a picture of model Malaika Firth.

A Stella McCartney representative told The Independent: "We are a house that celebrates all shapes, all sizes, all races and all ages.

"We should have been more mindful. It was a quick snap done backstage that was misleading. We listened to our followers and we took it down and replaced it. We can only apologise if we offended anyone."

The replacement image

The speed with which Stella McCartney replaced the image of JiHye Park has re-ignited the skinny shaming debate, with some Instagram users arguing the model should not be criticised for her weight.

"Just because you're thinner than normal does not mean you have a disorder. I think that what they did to the other model was incredibly disrespectful," wrote one user under the Malaika Firth image.

"Just because someone is thin, it doesn't mean they're unhealthy. People come in all different shapes and sizes lets please stop shaming other human beings," said another.

While most people will be aware of what fat shaming is, fewer are aware of criticising a person for being too thin can be just as damaging.

Previously speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, eating disorders charity Beat said: "You can’t tell just by looking at a picture of someone’s body if they are healthy not, and making critical comments about someone’s size - whether that is large or small - is never helpful.

"It doesn’t help our friends, it doesn’t help ourselves and it doesn’t help those people who find themselves scrutinised in public.

"Beat encourages everyone to celebrate the wonderful diversity that our bodies represent, because that is what gives us the strength and emotional resilience we need to fight the size-shamers.”

This isn't the first time the fashion industry has received criticism for its choice of models in recent weeks.

In September, Emporio Armani came under fire for using what some described as "ultra thin" models in their Milan show.

There is a fine line between calling out the fashion industry for not including a diverse range of body types, and body shaming an individual.

We do not know the eating habits of the Stella McCartney or Armani models - they may be perfectly healthy women. But undeniably, the designers do need to consider how images of these models may make other women feel and behave.

If young or impressionable women only see images of thin women, they are likely to think this is the only body type that is beautiful.

We'd like to see more body types represented in the fashion industry to help inspire body confidence in all women, whatever their size.


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