A leading fashion designer's comment that clothes "look better on skinny people" could place undue pressure on women, a psychotherapist says.
The comments, from World co-founder and chief executive Denise L'Estrange-Corbet yesterday, followed public outrage over the use of mannequins with visible ribs by fashion chain Glassons.
Speaking to TV One's Breakfast programme yesterday, L'Estrange-Corbet said thin models in the fashion industry was "nothing new" and would be unlikely to change in the future.
"Let's face it, clothes look better on skinny people," she said.
But Auckland psychotherapist Gaylene Jakicevich said throw-away comments such as this placed undue pressure on women to focus their appearance, alongside emphasising thinness as a standard for female beauty.
"They most certainly can adversely impact women's and girls' body image, which can lead to unhealthy behaviour as women and girls strive for the ultra-thin idealised body atypical of normal, healthy women," she said.
L'Estrange-Corbet said there were more concerning things having an impact on young people.
"I see Miley Cyrus openly smoking dope as a much bigger issue than skinny mannequins."
However, L'Estrange-Corbet's comments have not been met with support on social media, with Twitter users describing them as "ignorant" and "judgmental", while another said her interview was a "train wreck".
L'Estrange-Corbet's daughter, Pebbles Hooper, has backed up her mother's thoughts with a public vent on Twitter.
Actress and singer Emily Robins first posted an image of the Glassons skinny mannequin on Twitter, sparking a social media outcry.
She was prompted to take the photograph while shopping with her 17-year-old cousin, she told the show.
"I didn't want her to feel like she had to be that size to feel good in the clothes."
Glassons had previously defended its use of the mannequins, with chief executive Graeme Popplewell saying the mannequin's BMI of 18.8 put it within the healthy weight range of 18.5-24.9.
- additional reporting Patrice Dougan