H&M is getting praise for promoting realistic-looking women’s bodies by becoming the latest fast-fashion retailer to leave its swimwear models’ stretch marks, arm hair, scars, and blemishes on display, instead of airbrushing them out.
The Swedish fashion giant joins the likes of ASOS, Boohoo, and Missguided in ceasing to cover up its models’ natural skin. It comes mere months after Monki, which is part of the H&M Group, won praise for showing natural-looking female bodies in photos that notably didn’t pander to the male gaze.
The brand’s swimwear models are shown on its website with stretch marks on their legs and behinds, small scars, hair on their forearms, and facial moles, which brands still tend to airbrush out despite growing customer demand to see people who look more like them in fashion campaigns.
H&M’s models look refreshingly at ease with themselves and their bodies, which is a big change from what we’re used to seeing while bikini shopping online.
The move was widely praised on social media, with some pointing out “how far [the brand] has come” since it was accused of modeling its swimwear on computer-generated bodies in 2011, and lauding it for its body-positive stance.
I love these photos, stretch marks, scars & hair on their arms shows that these women have lived a life as normal people & they still look stunning. //t.co/RhSH2FZAs6
— Lou Nelson (@Lulam70) July 26, 2018
— Dr Larisa Corda (@DrLarisaTV) July 26, 2018
— SOz (@snyx) July 4, 2018
— Julia Rollo (@rollo_julia) July 26, 2018
— Caitlin McEvoy (@crmcevoy) July 14, 2018
I was scrolling through H&M’s website and I saw this super cute swimsuit. So I look more into it and as you can see, they have not edited their stretch marks out! I’m so proud of @hm like they’re really supporting natural bodies, I love it pic.twitter.com/FWkBnt02Tt
— emma (@emmathewho) July 21, 2018
H&M NOT COVERING UP STRETCH MARKS IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL (and that’s not the first time i see it)
H&M YOU’RE DOING AMAZING SWEETIE pic.twitter.com/3HjNzJHB7r
— 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙖 (@tripxswitch) July 9, 2018
However, some suggested there is still a long way to go until brands like H&M are truly representative of all women, highlighting the fact that all the models are still slim and conventionally attractive, and that there is little cellulite shown.
H&M didn’t airbrush out some very skinny models’ stretch marks and arm hairs and people are saying it’s amazing. The bar for what we celebrate as progressive in ad campaigns is so low. Maybe cast a model who reflects the size of the average woman? //t.co/8auqyuSkpG
— Rebecca Sullivan (@beck_sullivan) July 26, 2018
H&M stops airbrushing bikini models who proudly show off their stretch marks – The Sun
Good! Now we need more models of all shapes & sizes with other normal body traits like cellulite so children grow up knowing we are all different & thats fine! //t.co/qxtvhzEYZo
— Sharon (@sbarton28) July 26, 2018
You don’t get a prize for putting women’s stretch marks in a photo. You should be doing that anyway! They’re still all thin and beautiful with perfect skin though, of course.//t.co/XMO75xTQnV
— Kathryn (@kathrynblack07) July 26, 2018
Still, H&M has made some positive steps when it comes to size inclusion recently. The brand announced last month that it would be making its sizing bigger after years of customer complaints that its clothes were smaller than other fast-fashion items of the same size. It may not be a totally groundbreaking move, but hey, it’s a start.
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