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Forget Re-Touching, H&M Admits to using Fake, Computer-Generated Models

hm-computer-generated-modelsWith over 1800 tweets, and 850 Facebook likes, perhaps you have also seen the recent post on Mashable about H&M using computer-generated models on their website. (The post was originally published on PSFK.)

According to the post, H&M confirmed the use of computer-generated models:

“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 apperance with a program on a computer.”

While consumers shout for “real” and companies like Dove respond by showcasing “real” women’s bodies in the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty“, it is almost shocking that H&M would go to the other extreme — leaving the realm of real entirely and using computer-generated models.

H&M claims using computer-generated models simplifies the photoshoot process and allows customers to focus on the clothes rather than the models. “The result is strange to look at, but the message is clear: buy our clothes, not our models,” says Hacan Andersson, a spokesman from H&M.

In H&M’s defense, mannequins in store windows and shops have never been realistic portrayals of women, and we have tolerated them.

Are computer-generated models simply the 21st Century version of store mannequins? Or should society be evolving and using clothing models that do not continue to chip away at women and girl’s self esteem?

Personally, I don’t see clothing manufacturers, magazines, etc., abandoning photo retouching or computer-generated models. Marketers sell dreams, they prey on our insecurities and offer a “better life.”

When a company shows off their bikini designs, they don’t want the customer to be reminded that their stretch marks will show or their stomach will bulge slightly over the suit. No, they want the customer to fall in love with how they dream of looking in that bikini, and how perfectly they wish that suit would fit their body.

We may fight against it, we may beg magazines and companies to “tell the truth,” not use retouched photos and save the self esteem’s of the next generation. But the truth is, we all long for perfection. Dreams sell.

Close your eyes. Imagine you are on a website, choosing a swimsuit. How do you feel if the model is “average” size, untouched and imperfect, “muffin-top” exposed? Does it impact the way you feel about the suit? Does it remind you that your imperfections will be more noticeable in that bikini?

Or, does looking at that model standing proudly in her bikini with her untouched thighs and rounded stomach make you say, “If she can do it, I can do it!” and have you clicking “Add to Cart.”

I tend to think that while we may want to see our bodies reflected in the media and the marketplace, and campaigns like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty have us standing and applauding, trying to sell us “the dream” is not going anywhere.

But I would love to see some split-testing on the subject. ;)

What do you think? Do you want H&M to use “real” models to showcase their collections on their website? How would seeing imperfect bodies modeling clothes impact your buying decisions?

Read more of Janice’s posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

And don’t miss a post — follow @5MinutesforMom on Twitter!

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