UPDATED: A 19-year-old model from Sweden has told The Local she is thrilled to have raised concerns about the fashion industry, after using a video to reveal how agencies said she was "too big" despite her being underweight.
Published: 25 August 2015 14:46 CEST Updated: 26 August 2015 16:47 CEST
Swedish model Agnes Victoria Hedengård. Photo: Private/Instagram
Agnes Victoria Hedengård, who has been working as a model for the past five years, first posted a video in Swedish on her Facebook page over the weekend.
After it went viral in her home country, she reversioned the clip in English on Youtube on Monday which scored more than 419,000 hits in just 48 hours.
“I don't get any more jobs since the industry thinks I am to big. They think this is too big,” she says in the English video, pointing at her body.
A screen shot from the English-language YouTube video
Dressed in just black briefs and a pink neon and white bra, she adds in English: “I have been in contact with big agencies and clients that really want to work with me, but as soon as they get hold of my measurements it's a whole other story. They are like 'no, she's too big! She needs to get in better shape!'.”
According to Hedengård she has so far only had positive reactions to her videos, and told The Local on Wednesday that she had been contacted by plenty of younger and older models who had shared similar experiences.
“I'm so pleased. I've gotten so many good responses that I can't really believe it. That so many people agree with me is crazy,” she said.
“First it was only Sweden, now the videos have gone viral!”
Hedengård says she weighs 57 kilos and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 17.3, which means she is formally classified as being underweight according to the global indicator, which measures body fat by comparing both the weight and height of a person.
“My purpose of this video is to show everyone that a big part of the model industry thinks…you should not look like this. It's absurd and I hate it,” she says in the English film, which she shot herself on a smartphone while standing in front of a mirror.
The model's comments come during Stockholm Fashion Week, where more than 450 Swedish labels are being represented this year.
Asked by The Local if she had posted the video in an attempt to drum up publicity for herself during the high profile event, she said she had not considered the timing when she uploaded the first film.
“I think I would have got the exact same response if I had posted it three weeks from now. I posted it and didn't think twice about it. I think it's quite funny, because a lot of the models walking the fashion week love that I did the video.”
Hedengård says that while she does not think the fashion industry in Sweden is as critical of body shapes as that of some other countries, she has nevertheless been made to feel uncomfortable on plenty of occasions and even heard agency staff sighing as they have measured her.
She told The Local on Wednesday that she had been turned down for “maybe forty” jobs from a variety of different agencies.
That’s my friend’s daughter Agnes from my hometown Arvika. Such a brave girl to do this to stir up a bit of debate! https://t.co/xpKLIlH5f2
Emma Ohlson, Head of Fashion Week in Stockholm and spokesperson for the Association of Swedish Fashion Brands (AFSB), told The Local on Tuesday that it was unable to comment on individual cases but insisted that AFSB was focused on promoting “healthy” bodies.
“ASFB would like to see clear guidance and standards on a global level, where France already has started an important development. In all agreements with brands participating in Fashion Week in Stockholm, we have set clear recommendations regarding this issue, and we intend to continue working with our members and the industry to promote healthy ideals.”
Agnes Victoria Hedengård is now continuing her campaign on social media. Photo: Private/Instagram
MIKAs, one of Sweden's largest modelling agencies also responded to the outcry by suggesting it believes that the fashion industry needs to review its “slenderness requirements”.
In an email to Metro, the firm's founder Mika Kjellberg said that it was working with the Swedish Fashion Council and Elle's Editor-in-Chief in Sweden, Cia Jansson, to tackle the issue.
“We hope of course to be able to influence the industry, which still prefers to use thin models despite the fact that alternatives are available.”
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