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.
This 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.