Style Fashion

Wednesday 22 January 2020

H&M confess to using computer generated models

Same body, different heads at H&M. Photo: H&M
Same body, different heads at H&M. Photo: H&M

Belinda White

Swedish retailer H&M decides that even lingerie models aren't perfect enough for their website.

In the post 'Supermodel' age, models often get accused of all looking alike. Well, if you're looking at H&M's website, it turns out that's a reasonable allegation, because the Swedish retailer has confessed to using computer generated lingerie models who are "completely virtual" on their website.

In news that will depress women the world over, apparently even lingerie models' bodies aren't perfect enough these days, so H&M "designs a body that can better display clothes made for humans than humans can, then 'dresses' it by drawing on its clothes, and digitally pastes on the heads of real women in post-production", Jezebel report.

Seems like a lot of hassle in theory, but when you add up the expense of booking a model, hair and make-up artists, a photographer (and photographer's assistants), a studio, lights, catering, a stylist and retouching services, suddenly H&M's business model seems to make sense.

A spokesperson from H&M told German website Aftonbladet (who first noticed the cyborg nature of the lingerie models), that their aim was to ensure that the focus was on the merchandise, not the model: "The result is strange to look at, but the message is clear: buy our clothes, not our models".

However, H&M have come under fire from Scandinavian advertising watchdogs, with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation criticising them for "creating unrealistic physical ideals".

"This illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body," said spokesman Helle Vaagland. "The demands are so great that H&M, among the poor photo models, cannot find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis."

With the copious amounts of Photoshopping that goes on with many fashion shoots these days, who knows, maybe we'll soon get to the point where models become dispensable altogether...

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