H&M admit their swimwear models aren’t “real” women

H&M swimwear models(The identical pose kinda gives them away, doesn’t it?

As our regular readers know, The Fashion Police aren’t fans of the phrase “real woman”, which is generally just used as another stick for women to beat each other with, implying, as it does, that if only women with “curves” are “real”, then those without them must be… imaginary?

We have no hesitation, however, in declaring that the models shown above, in images from the H&M website, are NOT REAL WOMEN. Because they’re not. Literally, we mean. The heads are real, sure. The bodies, however, are computer generated, with H&M simply sticking the model’s heads onto the same body using the wonders of Photoshop. (Which seriously has a LOT to answer for, if you ask us.)

A spokesman for the chain admitted: “It’s not a real body, it is completely virtual and made [by] ​​the computer. We take pictures of the clothes on a doll that stands in the shop, and then create the human appearance with a program on [a] computer.”

H&M say they do this so that the focus is on the clothes, not on the models.

“This is not about ideals or to show off a perfect body, we do this to demonstrate an item of clothing. This is done for all clothing, not just for underwear, both male and female clothing,” said spokesman Håcan Andersson.

Good to know, H&M. Because here were we thinking that if not even a model is deemed “perfect” enough to wear these clothes, what chance would the rest of us have? We were also thinking that it’s no wonder so many women have hangups about their bodies and appearance in general, when models are either airbrushed to the point where they’re completely unrecognisable, or aren’t even real women to start with. 

We have long believed that it’s not “size 0” models, or celebrity role models which are the true enemy of self-esteem: it’s Photoshop. We’ve also always said that what’s needed in fashion is a much wider variety: a variety of shapes, sizes, races, ages… you name it. If all of that is not yet possible, however, a good start would be for brands to use ACTUAL people in their advertising: or to at least make it clear when they’ve chopped off the model’s head and stuck it onto a fake body.

What do you think?

[Source & Source]

22 Comments

  • December 7, 2011

    SwapQueenII

    Its completely disgraceful I must say! fake bodies… honestly it means they know nobody can look fantastic in their “one-size” down clothes!

    silly people! in as much as I like their clean lines and things…. they really have taken the piss with this one!

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    • December 7, 2011

      Rock Hyrax

      Ah, I wondered why I always felt so miserable coming out of that shop!

      Regarding the use of CG models, I like the idea in theory, but only if it were made clear that they were not supposed to be human – as suggested, perhaps resembling headless mannequins; or stylists could even have a bit of fun with skin textures and heads.

      On the other hand, how would this affect human models? Any reader of this blog already knows that “modelling is hard”, so if this trend took off would they find themselves pushing the boundaries further and further with the kind of ugly costumes they’re prepared to wear?

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  • December 7, 2011

    Julie

    Ugh. This sort of thing makes me never want to buy anything from them again. Why make clothes no one can wear? They’ve basically just said that even it you are a US size 2, even you probably won’t be able to wear their swimwear. O.o

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  • December 7, 2011

    Bia

    I guess they do that to save money? The process sounds cheaper than hiring a model.
    It’s a shady thing to do still, they could at least make it clear those are just mannequins.

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  • December 7, 2011

    Minka

    I already was pissed when I realized how much H&M sizing differs from the rest of the stores. Although, I am aware that size is just an arbitrary number, it still feels weird when my usually size 8 ass doesn’t even fit in a 12! And now this? If you are doing this, at least use a disclaimer or stop making these computer-made things look like people – it’s creepy. I don’t even want to know how the models feel – although their looks are close to perfection, they are still not good enough to model the crappy H&M swimsuits? What the hell?

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  • December 7, 2011

    naiadknight

    I AM a US size 2. I tried on the last vestiges of swimwear they had in store during Thanksgiving holidays. I’ll freely admit, I have athletic legs and a rather large chest for someone my size. That being said, it’s a *bleepbleep* swisuit. It was in what should have been my size and it wouldn’t go up past halfway up my knees on bottom. I couldn’t get the top to fit in any way where I wasn’t flashing someone. I tried on a simple button down shirt in “my size” and couldn’t even button the *bleepitybleep* thing. I had to go up to a size 6 to hope for anything to fit, and then it fit like it was made for the stick of a kid I was before puberty, except 2 feet taller than I am. H&M has been on my black list since then. This doesn’t help their case.

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  • December 7, 2011

    Marthe

    I love h&m and if you’re a frequent visitor of their website (which i am, because it makes shopping in ‘real life’ easier), or even if you just look around for a few minutes you can see that these are not real models… Women can comment these things in a negative way, but I don’t really care about how they show their clothes on their website, like Bia said, saving money is a good reason. Their campaign pictures are always nice, with curvy bodies or other-race-then-occidental models.

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  • December 7, 2011

    PurpleRennie

    If it’s “focussing on the clothes”, why put them on a body at all, real or computer-generated??

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    • December 8, 2011

      Marthe

      Well, on their website they actually show clothes without a model wearing them (unlikely zara, for example) but when you browse trough watching more picture of a certain piece, you can ALSO see this kind of thing, on a fake model, it is just to see how it would fit, or how a draped dress or such kind shall look. I’m sorry for my bad english!

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      • December 8, 2011

        Marthe

        + On zara, they actually have REAL models, but they’re as skinny as these fake ones! i think women should be more offended by zara then by h&m.

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  • December 7, 2011

    Kaitlyn

    I dont know, I feel like it’s not a bad idea. That way they can control how the body looks — be that ‘perfect’ or not, it could help them stay away from models that look ‘too thin’ as well. If their computer generated body is a healthy size, then why worry if it’s real or not?

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  • December 7, 2011

    Sydney

    The reason they use these digital models is so that customers can basically play a dress up game on their web site, so it makes perfect sense. They couldn’t use real models for that application.

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    • December 8, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      No, this isn’t for the dress-up thing: they’re just product shots, used to show the clothes: the dress-up app is something different.

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      • December 8, 2011

        Tya

        Yes, but it looks like they just took the body picture from a particular online dress-up game and put it on their website… that’s not very creative IMO.

        PS: sorry about my english; it’s not my first language.

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  • December 8, 2011

    Vintage Hippo Trish

    This has to be one of the strangest things I have ever seen. I understand the concept, to show clothes and not focus on models, but if that was the case why don’t they use manequins? Modcloth comes to mind, they use models AND manequins and show multiple sizes… I’ve never shopped H&M so idk if the clothes are worth all the hassle people seems to go through to buy from them.

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  • December 8, 2011

    Lulu

    This creeps me out, but I’m not sure why.
    After all, the live models the fashion industry uses tend to be all the same size and their photos are heavily doctored.
    Don’t we know that advertisement is fantasy?

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  • December 9, 2011

    Delphine

    Guys, you rule! This is so true, I mean if the people supposed to have “perfect” bodies (models) are don’t meet the expectations anymore, who could possibly identify with the clothes?
    Thank you for your brilliant points of view about fashion, people like you make me love fashion so much! <3

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  • December 9, 2011

    Delphine

    …Hi, I can’t type. Sorry for the mistakes in my previous message, I must be really tired!

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  • December 9, 2011

    Lighty_lo

    Oooohhhh, so that’s why the expensive sweater my sister bought years ago didn’t pass through her head: they use headless manequins and then photoshop them. Wow.

    But really… a shoe brand, here in Mexico, does exactly the same, so I’m not even surprised. Only a bit amused.

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  • December 12, 2011

    shouldbeamodel

    As a US size 0, I think H&M should hire me to model their clothes so they could have a real girl do it.
    Never shopped there so I have nothing to say about their fit but hey, I’ve got their Photoshopped body!!!

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  • December 13, 2011

    Amy

    I’m sorry but I didn’t know this was a secret, I mean i’ve only browsed the h&m website for a couple of and it was clear for me that the models were fake , same pose, same pout, same body , only the heads look different even the hairdo stays the same. I agree it can be a little misleading but these fakes models are actually bigger than real models in the other ads. I’m sure Freja Beha,Anja Rubik, Karlie Kloss (all used in h&m ads) don’t look like that in bikini, even ASOS models are slimmer so I don’t get why we are talking about impossible standards.

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  • January 10, 2012

    paputsza

    it’s creepy, but I think a lot of online clothing retailers have started using cg clothing to model the ten other colors that their clothing comes in so this was bound to happen eventually. However, it’s kind of pointless to have an imagined view of what clothes looks like on a person.

    fyi, they could fix the crotch.

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