Flipping through H&M’s Web site, you might get deja vu: Somehow, the lingerie and bikini models manage to pose exactly the same, even down to the arch of their pinkie finger. It’s not just exceptionally good posing — Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, reports that the company created computer-generated perfect bodies, and then edited a different model’s head onto each one, changing the skin color to match. The practice was first noticed by Bildbliffen, a Norwegian Web site that monitors photo retouching.
Håcan Andersson, H&M spokesperson, told the Aftonbladet that the company does it not to show off an ideal body but to show off the clothes. It also probably saves money that would otherwise go to paying models and stylists. But H&M is being criticized nevertheless for promoting a body so perfect that it isn’t even human.
According to the Toronto Star, a national advertising watchdog denounced the Swedish company for “creating unrealistic physical ideals” and demanded that H&M “find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis.” Sweden’s neighbor to the west, Norway, has already considered banning advertisements that feature super-skinny models.
H&M isn’t going to apologize or change its ways, though.
“This is a technique that is not new, it is available within the industry today and we are using it for our Shop Online in combination with real-life models pictures and still-life pictures,” Andersson told another Swedish Web site, The Local.
The company’s defiance has united models and feminists against the use of “virtual mannequins.”
“It is disrespectful and lazy,” Michael Flutie, creator and cast member of E!’s newest model search reality show “Scouted,” told Fox411. “It is the job of the brand to properly scout for their models and find those that represent their brand in every aspect. They need to take the responsibility of looking deep into the model pool to find the right people instead of digitally creating what they need.”