What an extraordinary backdown from the Glassons clothing company.

After a week of defending its use of mannequins with protruding ribs, the company issued a statement on Thursday apologising in such a fulsome manner you would have thought it was having a laugh.

Despite earlier maintaining its mannequins had a healthy BMI, the company later agreed they were unacceptable and they would be removed from all stores.

The company had taken on board the feedback from New Zealand women and unreservedly apologised for any upset caused to those who had seen the store displays.


The removal of the offending mannequins was effective immediately and the company spokesman reiterated once again that he was truly sorry to the women of New Zealand and assured us all that in future a more rigorous selection process will be adhered to for its point-of-sale display mannequins.


Short of rending his garments and covering himself in ashes, the Glassons CEO couldn't have abased himself more.

As Mike Hosking's radio producer said, he was clearly sorry for being a mannequin.

I now look forward to the apology to all the slim girls who are no doubt very upset at being told that their rib cages offend so many people.

It seems that as a society we consider it unacceptable to fat-shame -- to make cruel comments and judgments about people who are overweight -- yet somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to make comments about very slim women. A number of my talkback callers said they were constantly told to eat up, or quizzed about their eating habits. Some of them had been asked if they had food issues -- all comments that you would never make to a bigger girl.

Women come in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

Tall, short, thin, fat and everything between.


It would be nice to see a range of mannequins that represented that in all clothing stores, not just Glassons -- and seeing as I'm putting together a wish list, it would be nice to see a range of skin tones and for photoshopping of models to be banned in company advertising and magazine editorials.

It's one thing to look at beautiful young women who are the product of fortunate genetics, but don't create an impossible ideal through computer imaging. I love Lorde calling out the magazines that photoshop away her pimples.

But really, to get back to the Glassons apology.

What a to-do.

It just shows you the power of social media.

Anyone with a grievance and a Twitter account can whip up outrage in just 140 characters.

Mind you, fuel was added to the furore when World co-founder and chief executive Denise L'Estrange-Corbet said that models had always been skinny in the fashion business and would always be skinny because "clothes look better on tall, slim people".

I don't know that it's an immutable fashion law that models be tall and skinny and it seemed an odd thing to say given that World is one of the few brands that designs extra-large clothing to cater for bigger girls, but I guess if you live and work in the fashion world, there are certain ways you do things.

I know that when I ballooned out to a size (nearly) 16, clothes looked bloody awful on me.

When I look at old photos, I shudder.

I was overweight, unhealthily so, and I looked it. Now I'm back to a 12 and I look and feel a lot better. But that's just me and what's right for my height and age.

Other people can be fit and strong size 16s and look great.

One Christchurch woman was so appalled by L'Estrange-Corbet's defence of Glassons she decided to launch a petition to get the company to remove the mannequins, and what do you know? Fifteen thousand signatures later, Glassons buckled.

In the end, it has only itself to blame. I went into Glassons to pick up some merino tops for my daughter freezing in London and, rifling through the range, I could find only one in a size 6 for my daughter, but plenty in sizes 16 and 18.

Clearly, the company understands that its customers are not one size fits all, but that's not represented in the shop window.

Perhaps if it had mannequins in a size 16, bigger girls would come into the store, buy its clothes and there wouldn't have been so many clothes in the bigger sizes left unsold.

Let's hope magazine editors have also heard the call for a diverse range of models and start featuring more women representative of the population in their fashion spreads.

Let's focus on what's important, and that's a healthy, fit and strong body.

As I near 50, that's what matters to me. The rest is just window dressing.

• Kerre McIvor is on Newstalk ZB, Monday-Thursday, 8pm to midnight.