Karen Millen Apologises For 'Super Skinny Mannequin' After Being Accused of Promoting Eating Disorders

Lau Evans/ Twitter

Yet another high street retailer has caused controversy by choosing to use a mannequin with protruding bones.

Karen Millen has since apologised for using the "super skinny" mannequin in on of its stores, after many on Twitter accused the display of promoting "dangerous" body image ideals.

Laur Evans spotted the mannequin in question in the West Quay store in Southampton.

She tweeted a picture of the display, writing: “TW:ED @KarenMillen, why've you chosen to make collar bones and ribs so central to the marketing of this dress? Dangerous!”

TW:ED stands for “trigger warning: eating disorder”, which is commonly used online to highlight images that promote unhealthy body types.

Others on Twitter soon spotted the image, with many agreeing that it idealised an unrealistic body type.

Josephine Liptrott commented: "Shame on @KarenMillen for this normalising of the super-skinny. What a terrible msg to send to our young women."

Sean Murphy added: "@KarenMillen Almost beyond belief. Someone has made conscious decision to do that."

Commenting on the thread, the retailer apologised for the mannequin.

"As a brand we celebrate a range of body sizes within collections and offer size 6 through to 16," it said.

"Both the mannequin and model you have seen representing Karen Millen are size 10 which is industry standard.

"No offence was meant and the intention is not to advertise a negative body image but to focus on the style of the garment in both instances. We are so sorry again for any disappointment and upset this may have caused."

The uproar around the Karen Millen mannequin comes just weeks after high street store Whistles was forced to aplogise over a mannequin with visible breast bones.

Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle at the time, eating disorder charity Beat said: "Retailers should consider very seriously the messages that they put across and we should all play a part in giving a generation of young people confidence in their bodies, their appearance and their sense of wellbeing.

"Obviously underweight mannequins such as this are unhelpful in fuelling the continuous exposure of the unrealistic ‘ideals’ so often portrayed. People who are at risk, or already affected by an eating disorder can be triggered or maintained in the disorder by the images they see everywhere.”

When will retailers get the message?

Jennie Runk

Body Image Heroes