Models Need Not Apply

H&M virtual models
BeautyFashionMedia 5 Comments

The clothing giant H&M’s new online models are unreal. Not unreal in the fabulous way, but unreal as in the computer generated way. Instead of using actual models, the retailer has admitted to pasting real models’ heads on computer generated bodies and matching the skin tone, all in post production. They are making no apologies about it.

Have the demands for perfection finally gone too far? Is it possible that there are no women in the modeling world that have the proper proportions and beauty to show off H&M’s latest swim and lingerie collections? It’s certainly hard for us to believe.

According to the press officer at H&M, it was not their intention to mislead anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins were real. For the company, it’s not about ideals or showing the perfect body, but it is a way for them to show off the garments in the best possible way, so they say. They go on to defend the company’s decision to use virtual instead of real models by explaining that computer generated bodies ensure that the garments remain the focus of online shoppers attention, not the bodies.

Taylor SwiftThis is clearly not an isolated incident. Photoshopped images are nothing new in the fashion and beauty industries. It was only just a couple of weeks ago that headlines announced a Taylor Swift Covergirl ad was pulled after an advertising watchdog organization determined Taylor’s eyelashes in the ad were photoshopped and they claimed the ad to be misleading.

Is it the responsibility of brands to disclose these forgeries to consumers, or is it okay for H&M to lead consumers to think that women must have perfect proportions to wear one of their bikinis? At the very least, we think this clearly shows the continued and outrageous aesthetic demands placed on women today.

In a recent study conducted for Unilever, only 2 percent of women around the world described themselves as beautiful. This statistic is startling and disturbing and reflects how the definition of beauty has narrowed and become almost impossible to attain. As consumers, we need to support brands to encourage women to build a positive relationship with their body image, not replace it with an unrealistic computer generated image of what they believe is the right shape for their clothes.

Tell us what you think about the practice of using computer generated and photoshopped images.

  • JA

    Despite the very obvious ridiculousness of the concept of “perfect” body proportions, is H&M simply admitting that their crappy swimwear cannot and will not look good on a real woman’s body? Maybe this is a kind of uber honest advertising, “hey consumers our clothes really suck and can only be worn by bodies we manufacture, via computer. so don’t even bother buying anything from us.” And how truly sad for these models who are getting their heads lopped off because their real bodies apparently don’t make the cut. I could go on, but I won’t. Any way you slice it this is really pathetic.

  • Serena

    If the marketing geniuses at H&M truly want us to believe this was done so “garments remain the focus of online shoppers attention, not the bodies”, then why did they not just shoot their swimwear off model? Lots of brands I shop with do this… it’s a swimsuit shot flat on a white background with no bodies to “distract” me. I’m not buying H&M’s excuse.

  • Alice

    This is so crazy, they have no clue what this means, that’s scares me to death. Sorry H&M, you lost me.

  • KT

    Advertising watchdogs really need to learn to pick their battles or they strongly risk losing credibility. Complaining about an ad over eyelashes is absurd. You will lose the support of the average consumer if they keep this up. Computer generated bodies? That I get protesting. Big difference.

  • Gargouille

    What woman would actually take money to have her face plastered on an avatar in a magazine?!? Oh, wait, that basically describes the modeling industry. I say it’s about time bodies became cybernetic. Now models can go home and eat, photoshoppers can get a life, and the rest of us can admit that women’s fashion is about manipulating bodies, not celebrating them. It’s a slipperly slope from the waif diet to the photoshopped waistline to the avatar. H&M is on the final frontier of deception, but that only means they are more ambitious than most, not more despicable.