Models and industry figures have hit back at claims unhealthily thin women are appearing at Australian Fashion Week.
The latest outrage over super-skinny models comes after Cassi Van Den Dungen walked for Alex Perry and Ellery on Monday.
Photos showed her looking gaunt and bony on the runway, sparking a debate in the media and online.
The director of her booking agency Work Agency said Van Den Dungen was devastated by the comments.
“Her and her family are devastated, she’s in tears, she’s working really hard and she doesn’t have an eating disorder,” Helena Vitolins told AAP.
Vitolins confirmed she had been contacted by Marie Claire Australia editor Jackie Frank who called her to express concern after seeing the model on the runway.
“She rang me and she … said `look this girl is terribly thin’, and I said `you know what, yes, but she is’.
“She’s petit, she’s five foot 10 with a little head, huge mouth, huge eyes and sharp cheek bones.”
“Maybe it was the choice of outfit or the choice of makeup, or that heavy lighting.”
Van Den Dungen, a former Australia’s Next Top Model runner-up, told critics via instagram to “deal with it” and posted photos of her food.
“Lunch. Nice to have a break between shows,” was the caption on her bagel with jam and a flat white. She used the hashtags #lovefood #love my job, #iamwhoiam and #dealwithit.
Amanda Ware, a former winner of Australia’s Next Top Model, said models “eat more food than anyone else” and most of her colleagues were born slim.
“I’ve seen us models eat at a restaurant and we put away probably more food than anyone else,” Ware said backstage on Tuesday before stepping out in a size six figure-hugging Ginger & Smart dress.
Kathy Ward from Chic Management, who provided models for the Carla Zampatti show on Sunday, said the weight debate was complex.
“We make sure they (the models) are fit and healthy and in the best position to secure the jobs,” Ward said.