Recently, Swedish fashion chain H&M admitted to using computer-generated models to showcase a range of collections on its website. The virtual models look completely human. Continue reading here.

We are well aware that H&M is an international corporation. However, H&M has branches in Lebanon and the Arab world, so we feel that it is our responsibility both as feminists and as a media monitor to highlight the issues we have with the fact that H&M are using perfect, digital, computerised women’s bodies to look like real human figures in order to advertise their products.

Now we understand the necessity of advertising, but we cannot understand picking one type of “perfect” body to go with every face and skin tone and erasing the possibility of variety; forgetting to acknowledge the existence of different body shapes and forms.

H&M computer generated models

Dear H&M; 

Women all over the world do not, and should not, have to deal with the fact that you find it too time-consuming to arrange a photo-shoot.

The mere fact that H&M is using digital women sends a message to real women that they are not good enough to be featured in your catalogues and on your billboards. Moreover, it emphasises the fact that no matter how “perfect” a woman may be according to the sick, unhealthy, and stereotypical beauty standards, she will never be good enough.

What H&M obviously can’t see (which is a big disappointment) is that this perfect and unachievable image being portrayed in your ads has a direct effect on women’s body image and self-confidence. This leads them into a vicious circle of always trying to look like those models without success, which often may lead to unhealthy lifestyles, and even physiological and psychological problems.

Big corporations have a direct effect on society. You should all start realising the damage you are causing with irresponsible advertising, and take responsible actions to empower your biggest market consumers – women – instead of psychologically and subconsciously bashing them and targeting their bodies with such a violent discourse.

H&M, you have to be smarter than simply saying that you want customers to concentrate on the products you are selling and not your models.

If that was the case, why feature human models instead of white plaster shapes wearing your products? That would definitely give your products the most attention.

Why are your human-looking computer generated models extremely skinny with a “perfect” shape, and are dressed in extra small sized outfits? There are slim women in the world, but slim is not the only body type in existence.

Besides, if it is so easy to create computer generated models that simply, why didn’t you take larger women into consideration? Why didn’t you create different models with different sizes?

To give the benefit of doubt, maybe the whole thing really did not have any vicious intentions; maybe it was out of carelessness, thoughtlessness, lack of planning?

I am not behind the scenes, and I am not part of H&M’s marketing department, so I definitely cannot know for certain, but the one thing that is crystal clear is that your advertisements are sending one message to women, something along the lines of: you need to look perfect, literally UNREAL, in order to be up to the standards of wearing our clothes.

This matter is truly not as simple as it may seem. The social influence is very dangerous, destructive and violent.

We seriously hope that H&M gets our message and changes their policies in order to empower women instead of kill them slowly.


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One Comment

  • Håcan Andersson
    16 Dec 2011 | Permalink | Reply


    We would like to clarify the following:

    The technique with virtual mannequins is not new in itself, it is available within the industry today, and it can be seen on various international websites. For our Shop Online we use a combination of real life models pictures, still life pictures and virtual mannequin pictures. The technique with virtual mannequins is also used in our Dressing Room online, so that customers can try different looks and outfits.

    The procedure for creating the online mannequins is as follows: The garments are photographed in various angles on a mannequin, similar to the ones you might find in stores. The looks are then assembled in a computer program to show a garment, a look or a complete outfit. This is the same technique that our customers can use themselves in our Dressing room to see different looks or styles, and the technique can be found being used throughout the industry. This is not to be seen as conveying a specific ideal or body type, but merely to show our garments. The faces we use for our virtual models are head models, which are well aware of how we are using them to show our items in Shop Online.

    For all other marketing and campaigns – outdoor, TV, print and other media, H&M will continue to use real life models in a wide variety of gender, ages and ethnicities.

    It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins should be real bodies or that they should convey any specific ideal or body type, which is incorrect and have never been our intention.

    best regards
    Håcan Andersson
    Press officer, H&M

2 Trackbacks

  • 31 Dec 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    [...] توجه اليها بالنقد مثل شركة “زعتر وزيت” وشركة M&H العالمية (يمكنكم/ن الاطلاع عليها أدناه)، وهو أمر مبشّر [...]

  • 31 Dec 2011 | Permalink | Reply

    [...] توجه اليها بالنقد مثل شركة “زعتر وزيت” وشركة M&H العالمية (يمكنكم/ن الاطلاع عليها أدناه)، وهو أمر مبشّر [...]

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