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26-06-2010
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I don't think the fashion industry breeds suicides, it just maybe exacerbates the illness in someone who already has it. My father committed suicide and let me tell you that the people who don't think it's an illness are ridiculous. No matter how famous, well off, successful you are,like the people mentioned in the industry who died in this manner, the illness just negates it all. It really is a horrible thing to witness.

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26-06-2010
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to me IT IS related to fashion. what is more unfair, subjective and more inhuman than fashion ? just because of a sight, because of a taste, u're in or out. @ "normal" work, u're supposed not to be discriminated on subjective elements. in fashion industry, there isn't anything who could be considrered as an objective element of judgement.... Tom said it and he was right, models spend their time wondering "what's wrong with me" ?

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26-06-2010
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I was thinking of starting a thread on this subject, however I couldn't decide on how to approach the subject since it is so sensitive.

I definitely think fashion is related to the deaths that have happened. I'm not really positive how to articulate why I feel that way yet though. Hopefully soon I'll find the words.

Even if Fashion may not be related, the industry should still do something. It's as though this industry doesn't believe in support systems. I think something should be done about this, but it's kind of like the weight issues. Everyone is pointing a finger but no one is making a difference.

What worries me more is the rate at which all these people are dying. Has one suicide caused a domino effect?

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26-06-2010
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Another factor that could afefct the models is being a sole breadwinner at 16 or 18. When one becomes successful suddenly ur family back home needs money for rent, school fees..food etc. In case ones career suddenly shows signs of waning they tend to feel like they are letting their family down. Some of the families have to sell off their property just to buy a ticket to fly the model to an agency in NY or Paris thus the models feel somewhat indebted.

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26-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyc_art_style View Post
I was thinking of starting a thread on this subject, however I couldn't decide on how to approach the subject since it is so sensitive.

I definitely think fashion is related to the deaths that have happened. I'm not really positive how to articulate why I feel that way yet though. Hopefully soon I'll find the words.

Even if Fashion may not be related, the industry should still do something. It's as though this industry doesn't believe in support systems. I think something should be done about this, but it's kind of like the weight issues. Everyone is pointing a finger but no one is making a difference.

What worries me more is the rate at which all these people are dying. Has one suicide caused a domino effect?
I agree and the suicides seem to be escalating at the moment especially among models. Could it have something with the starting age which has gone lower and also the increased competitiveness and glamorization of the bad attitudes of the major players in the industry.

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26-06-2010
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eventhough i'm french and non-english speaking, i do believe the title should be changed ........

to something like "can fashion industry lead to suicide ?" .......

and as softgrey said, i think the people suffering of illness in the fashion industry would suffer in any other environments .....

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26-06-2010
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I read an article yesterday saying that the fashion industry has no known association with a higher risk of a suicide. I think it was on The Cut and a quote from some research at the American Institute of Suicidology but I'm not entirely sure on that.

There may be a slightly higher risk, especially of people who live in the public like famous designers and models. But also, I think we just hear about them more. I was talking to a friend of my mom's about Alexander McQueen's suicide when we walked by his NYC store, but none of the other six people we were with had ever even heard his name.

Paying as much attention to the fashion industry as people on this website do probably makes it look artificially high.
I think we may see the same trend if you paid such close attention to other industries too.

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27-06-2010
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Very interesting topic!
I agree with pretty much everything MulletProof brought up.
What I wanted to add is that I think models probably have to deal with a lot of pressure from their own families, too. I can imagine family and friends get so excited about one of their loved ones being signed to an agency and being sent to a foreign country they'll probably be like "I can't wait to see you in Vogue and big commercials!". It's like when you have an important exam and your whole family keeps saying they're sure you did well and such, it makes it even harder to admit when you completely messed up. That's what I imagine it must be like for young models. They're stuck alone in a tiny model apartment, working their butt off and they don't have the success they had initially hoped for. I'm sure it's incredibly hard for them to admit it to their friends that they don't lead this glamourous and perfect life everyone has in mind and they will probably feel like they completely failed. And I don't even want to think about how hard it must be for the girls that promised to support their families financially and they just don't earn enough to do that. They must feel like they failed on all accounts. I guess these circumstances can definitely lead to depression, their young age considered and all.

(BTW, I'm guessing the weight talk rule applies for this forum too, but since the food talk wasn't edited out here, I hope it's ok to go into this as well, since it's such an important matter in this subject. Feel free to edit this part out if necessary.)
What I also witnessed is that eating disorder and depression rates are usually very high at all girls schools and such. I've been told that's due to girls living on their own at a young age and focusing too much on what other girls do (out of feeling helpless or being insecure), which often stirs admiration and envy for other girls at the same time which leads to a very competitive thinking, therefore icreasing the risk for EDs and emotional instability. I guess it must be similar for young models living together.

That being said, of course there are people amongst the models who are stronger than others and don't tend to become depressive as much as others. And I generally think that there's always a genetic disposition for such a thing as depression, too. So I wouldn't say the fashion industry is entirely to blame for all the recent models' suicides but it definitely had to do with triggering it.

As for designers and other creative people working in the fashion industry commiting suicide, I guess that's a whole different phenomenon. Creative people often lead very uninhibited lives and don't know any boundaries. Due to living such an intensive life those people often feel oversaturated at a young age already. Basically the opposite of what young models feel. While the models feel like they haven't achieved anything in their life, creative people often feel like there's nothing left for them to do in this world/life.

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27-06-2010
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"I think people who are attracted to the fashion industry are people who are really insecure and looking for a certain identity. I think that's initially how people are attracted to it"
-Tom Ford

From personal experience, and those of others that I know, I can say that there is atleast a grain of truth in this. To some extent I think it makes some sense when I think about the kind of thought processes that are involved when working in fashion and not in anything else...in which case, I think its okay to feel like you can find a correlation between involving yourself in high fashion and developing that kind of emotional instability. BUt of course at the end of the day, it's all very relative..

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27-06-2010
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Another Model Down: Viveka Babajee Commits Suicide

Quote:
Bollywood actress and Indian model Viveka Babajee, 37, was found dead today, Thaindian News reports. She allegedly hanged herself from a ceiling fan in her suburban Mumbai apartment. According to The Calcutta Telegraph, the former Miss Mauritius titleholder and one-time face of Coca-Cola and Kama Sutra ads in India, suffered from severe depression.

Babajee's death adds to an ever-growing list of recent model suicides, loaning credence to what Jezebel contributor and ex-model Jenna Sauers posited last month: "Suicidal models are fashion's worst trend."
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27-06-2010
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The sad fate of another model. Anyway Jenna Sauer posted a lengthy article about this same topic too.

Quote:
Suicidal Models Are Fashion's Worst Trend

News that top French model Noťmie Lenoir attempted suicide last weekend, along with the recent suicides of models Ambrose Olsen, Daul Kim, Hayley Kohle, and Ruslana Korshunova, has many people asking: Why do all these models want to kill themselves?

That, of course, is impossible for anyone in this life to answer. And yet there does seem to be an inordinate number of models who have experienced psychological problems: Wallis Franken, Brian Bianchini, and Margaux Hemingway were among those who took their own lives, while others, including Karen Mulder, have suffered through public mental breakdowns. In the summer of 2008, Kazakh model Ruslana Korshunova died in a fall from her New York balcony four days before her 21st birthday; her death was ruled a suicide (though rumors of foul play still persist). Later that year, 26-year-old Canadian Hayley Kohle reportedly jumped from the balcony of her Milan agency's apartment after telling her room-mates she was going out for a cigarette; the Italian police failed to notify Kohle's family of her death for three days. On the day Kohle died, male model Randy Johnston died of a drug overdose, which was ruled accidental. Model-turned-actress Lucy Gordon hanged herself in Paris. Last November, Daul Kim was found hanged in her boyfriend's apartment — and while her death too was ruled a suicide, rumors of foul play arose after friends alleged her much-older boyfriend had been physically abusive. Then, last month, Ambrose Olsen, star of dozens of campaigns for Hugo Boss and Armani, was found hanged by a room-mate. And Lina Marulanda jumped to her death in Colombia.

The media typically jumps all over these stories, for a half a minute — a model who kills herself is the ultimate empty tragic figure, the Freudian sex/death paradox embodied and served up in four-to-six column inches topped with a hot photo. One of the tragedies of suicide is that it precludes any possibility of understanding why that person has chosen to end her own life; for surviving friends and family, the why can and will never truly be known. Public speculation about an individual's bad relationship or personal problems or financial problems or what someone wrote on her blog this one time is generally misguided, although of course it stems from the very human desire to narrativize, to understand, and to seek "closure." Certainly in Lenoir's case, we have no business idly talking about what might have been going through her mind on Sunday afternoon, as she apparently ingested a large quantity of drugs and alcohol, called an ambulance as she began to OD, then thought better of it, canceled the ambulance, and went instead for a walk in the woods.

The media is also generally very quick to blame fashion for pushing these young (predominantly) women to a point beyond desperation; actually, it would be very hard to pinpoint the precise ways in which the modeling industry may or may not have impacted any individual's wellbeing. (Though Maureen Orth makes a great attempt in her story about Wallis Franken's death.) What I do know is this: modeling can be extremely lonely, and the pattern of work it requires — endless spin cycles of travel at short notice, and a stream of new people coursing through your life each day — can have the effect of distancing one from preexisting support systems, like family and friends. By performing this work, you also sign on for a vicious level of bodily critique from potential clients and even your own representatives. It can be a very financially unstable way to live. And most crucially, agencies seem to put very little effort, if any, into identifying models who might be vulnerable to psychological disorders, and encouraging (or even just allowing) them to seek help. At best, the structure and economics of the industry are such that short term results — by whatever means — are prized, and at worst, long-term thinking, or considering a model as a whole person, is disincentivized. (At absolute worst, models may be exposed via the industry to older, wealthier, more manipulative people who take on the guise of protectors, like Claude Montana to Wallis Franken, or Daul Kim's boyfriend.) Many, many models struggle with stress, anxiety and depression, as well as substance dependencies and eating disorders, and the resources available to them are few.

I was talking about this last night with a friend of mine who still models; when we went over the depressing retinue of suicides in the profession, she said, "But is it really a surprise that there would be so many?" I thought for only a moment before I replied, "No."
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27-06-2010
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In this I'm tending to agree with what people like softgrey and chaneladdict have said, that the kind of depression (or any other emotional instability for that matter) that can lead a person to suicide is pre-disposed, just like any other mental or emotional illness. The things that a person might experience while working in the fashion industry - loneliness, rejection, stress - could absolutely trigger severe depression. But different people cope differently, and it's not just a matter of inner strength or emotional maturity. Even though this recent trend of young models ending their lives is startling, the truth is that there is a huge majority of fashion models who are forced to cope with exactly the same circumstances, the same stress and loneliness, who face just as much rejection and judgement, but who don't commit suicide because of it.

A related example would be drug use. There's plenty of it in the industry, just like there is in any creative industry, and there are those people who suffer from addiction. But for every person who loses the ability to control themselves, there are plenty of people who are able to stop before drug use becomes a problem. The people who end up addicted to something might not ever have touched drugs if they weren't in the fashion industry and weren't around them, but it's almost a certainty that they would wind up addicted regardless of how or where they first came to use them.

If there's one thing I've learned it's that things like this are all in the wiring, the chemical makeup of each person. Outside influences can only push you so far.

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Last edited by Spike413; 27-06-2010 at 02:05 PM.
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27-06-2010
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I actually thought about this a few days ago when I read an article in the Times about the death of Tobias Wong (art designer). He's not really related to the fashion industry but the underlining theme of creativity I think is the main point.
I feel like it's not so much the fashion industry but more towards the creative personalities that comprises the industry. Creative businesses (fashion, art, music, writing) are struggling and there's more pressure to create money/business then art.
While there may not be a direct correlation to fashion and suicide, it is interesting nonetheless. And by interesting, I mean that in the most respectable manner towards the sensitive subject. I was a sociology major so this is right up my alley, but alas, my studies and knowledge on suicide is limited so I'll stop rambling. . .

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27-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike413 View Post
In this I'm tending to agree with what people like softgrey and chaneladdict have said, that the kind of depression (or any other emotional instability for that matter) that can lead a person to suicide is pre-disposed, just like any other mental or emotional illness. The things that a person might experience while working in the fashion industry - loneliness, rejection, stress - could absolutely trigger severe depression. But different people cope differently, and it's not just a matter of inner strength or emotional maturity. Even though this recent trend of young models ending their lives is startling, the truth is that there is a huge majority of fashion models who are forced to cope with exactly the same circumstances, the same stress and loneliness, who face just as much rejection and judgement, but who don't commit suicide because of it.

A related example would be drug use. There's plenty of it in the industry, just like there is in any creative industry, and there are those people who suffer from addiction. But for every person who loses the ability to control themselves, there are plenty of people who are able to stop before drug use becomes a problem. The people who end up addicted to something might not ever have touched drugs if they weren't in the fashion industry and weren't around them, but it's almost a certainty that they would wind up addicted regardless of how or where they first came to use them.

If there's one thing I've learned it's that things like this are all in the wiring, the chemical makeup of each person. Outside influences can only push you so far.
And I agree with that ... but those outside influences are still morally culpable. I believe it's common knowledge (or common belief) that Claude Montana was morally culpable, for instance ...

That's true regardless of how vulnerable or fragile the victim is, but I think there's general agreement that pushing a fragile person to the brink is even worse ...

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27-06-2010
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For some perspective, or an interesting comparison, the occupations with the highest suicide rates are in the medical field (physicians, dentists, and veterinarians).

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...t-suicide-rate

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