Australians might not know Norwegian-born model Sylvia Flote by name, but her baby bump is currently attracting international media attention.
This week, 36-year-old Flote, who is expecting her first child with fiancée Sigmund Oakeshott, criticised some online retailers’ use of pregnancy bump prosthetics to promote their maternity fashion – instead of using pregnant models, such as herself.
“Surprisingly, many do not know the majority of models modelling pregnancy clothing are actually girls with a fake bump attached,” Flote tells Mamamia.
“I modelled pregnancy clothing like that once. At the time, I thought little of it, and treated it as a novelty even, but now finding myself pregnant and experiencing how my body changes, I’ve been reflecting on the ethical aspect of it all.”
View this post on Instagram
It’s the ethics of online stores ASOS and Boohoo that Flote has directly questioned, because, as she claims, they are being dishonest with their customers.
“If companies won’t put in the extra work it requires to research and source actual pregnant women to model their products, they should at the very least include a disclaimer letting the customer know this is an image of a regular model wearing a fake bump,” Flote says.
The mum-to-be firmly believes that using regular models with pregnancy prosthetics, or stuffed bras to give the impression of pregnancy cleavage, sends a wrong, and dangerous, message to women.
“With pregnancy, it’s not simply a growing stomach, but a small deposit of extra fat storage, extra fluids and growing breast tissue,” she explains.
“I feel a skinny 20-something girl with a slapped-on belly, is just not the right message to send out.”
Flote is unimpressed with the excuses some retailers have given for their practices.
“In 2017, ASOS claimed they only use stick on bellies because they care about the welfare of the model,” she explains.