On Monday, Sozzani, who was joined by model Doutzen Kroes and The Huffington Post‘s Arianna Huffington, spoke to an audience of about 600 people at Harvard University (and then posted it online for everyone else) about the fashion industry’s influence on the definition of beauty and eating disorders:
“One of the reasons why a girl starts a too-strict diet is the necessity to correspond to an aesthetic standard which rewards thinness, also in its excesses. According to numerous psychiatrists, in fact, the current inclination to embrace a female beauty standard that exalts thinness has devastating consequences on many adolescents’ eating habits. And this is where fashion comes into play, alongside models, fashion magazines and everything regarding aesthetics. What lead us to establish that thin is beautiful and that thinness is the aesthetic code we should follow?”
She also spoke about the dangers of pro-anorexia websites and encouraged the audience to join her petition to close down such sites:
“Last year I discovered a new and unknown world, that of pro-ana and pro-mia websites, and I accepted the idea that we are all, in some cases involuntarily, a little guilty so I started an online petition to close such websites. I was perfectly aware that half of the people would have supported me and the other half would have blamed me. And that is what happened in the beginning. But then many understood that I acted with the best intentions and that I truly wanted to use the power of the fashion world to help badly influenced people who would end up in self-destruction. Who would end up dying. This has caused me a lot of trouble and a flood of insults. But I haven’t stopped and we have reached now 12,000 signatures and I will soon launch a provocation to stop such sites. I will ask for the help of the users themselves. We will set up a chain ‘against’, since the law is unable to close such sites. Taking the blame is a necessary deed and finding a solution is even more important.”
Admitting that the fashion industry and herself are at fault takes guts — now, if only her magazine would regularly show women of different body types and sizes, the rest of the industry would have some footsteps in which to follow.