Mannequins will not have to fatten up for Mango

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 February, 2007, 12:00am

HK women are trimmer than those in Spain, says chain store

Plumper mannequins will not be seen in the Hong Kong windows of Spanish fashion chain Mango, despite a pledge by the chain to fatten up its image at home.

Mango says Hong Kong women are smaller than their Spanish sisters so there is no need to upsize its mannequins here as part of efforts to combat the unhealthy desire of young women to appear stick-thin.

Feminists were disappointed by Mango's decision, saying although the Hong Kong government did not have rules covering the issue, the fashion chain should use this opportunity to show it was a responsible corporate citizen.

Cheng Yuen-yi of the Gutsy Women group urged the government to follow European moves to promote views favouring diversity among women.

Last week, Spanish retail chains including Mango and Zara agreed on a 12-point beauty charter with the country's health ministry to combat anorexia, the condition that causes women to starve themselves to appear thin.

The measures mean female mannequins should wear clothes of at least size 38 (10 in Britain; eight in the US). Stick-thin mannequins will be withdrawn from store windows over the next few years.

Mango's spokeswoman wrote from Spain that the firm had no plan to extend the rule to Hong Kong. 'For the moment, as this is a Spanish law and it has only been discussed for the Spanish market, we will only proceed to do these changes in the Spanish shops.

'Although this law is being contemplated in the world, we have to think that the Hong Kong market is not the same as the Spanish market, and the standard size for the Hong Kong market is smaller than for the Spanish market,' she said.

No representative of the Zara chain could be reached for comment.

Ms Cheng said: 'Fashion stores, especially those small businesses, have been selling smaller and smaller clothes in recent years. The length of the clothes is the same, but the waist and the hip area are getting smaller. Small used to be the smallest size, but now there are extra, extra-small sizes.

'An obvious result of the trend is women will think they're fat and have to reduce weight to fit into the clothes. I'm not fat, my hips are 36 inches, but it is very difficult to find the right trousers.'

She accused the government of lacking vision as an obsession with slimness would eventually be damaging to health and place a burden on the city.

A health department spokeswoman said the government promoted a healthy diet and exercise. She said the government's website on health education had information on obesity and a balanced diet.