Digital Models

Hey everyone,

Here is an article describing exactly what we discussed in class about using digital bodies. The comparison pictures are very interesting!




11 thoughts on “Digital Models

  1. This is very interesting. I’ve read few more articles on this subject and I find myself agreeing with the people attacking the use of computer generated models in H&M’s lingerie campaign. I do find it lazy for a company whose net worth that is estimated to be between $12-16 billion, to not do what they’ve been doing for years—hiring models and stylists. I do understand that it is cheaper to do so from a business perspective but from a consumer perspective this action can question the company’s morals/ethics. H&M defends themselves by stating that the campaign is not about the models it is about the clothes and this computer generated idea is not new to the fashion industry. I think if the fashion industry continues to do things like this, it will only further problems that women have (young and old) with self-confidence. I agree with Bostic in this article explaining that H&M should not use unrelatable bodies. Putting REAL heads on FAKE bodies is just unacceptable. That model, I’m sure is already facing the pressure of staying skinny within the modeling industry so I find it disgusting that even that is not good enough. People are not perfect, we should accept that especially because the average customer of stores like H&M aren’t perfect either. We need to stop laying down new standards of what the perfect body is.

  2. I too have read a few more articles on this issue regarding digital models and agree with Aryn’s previous post. While it was in H&M’s economic interest, and perhaps their styling interest, to digitally create models with the exact body type they wanted it was a lazy effort on their part. I’m almost positive they could have found real models with the size and shape they were looking for. Additionally, I found it insulting that these digital models they used were even thinner than the bulk of real models, who are already thinner than 95% of the American population. Also, why wasn’t anyone thinking about the female shoppers, who most likely aren’t aware of these digital models, and go online to H&M’s website and see these unachievable thin bodies. This all makes me interested in why H&M made the decision to use these digital models and what the repercussions of their actions are.

  3. I think it is interesting that the comment in the article first states that it is “lazy” because they should have to “scout for models” rather than just generate them digitally. It seems to me like that comment sort of misses the point. Or, I guess, I personally believe that that shouldn’t be the point of opposition against this. Rather, it seems really disturbing to me primarily because they have started generating “perfect” bodies digitally in a world where people get plastic surgery, etc. to try to shape themselves into what they believe is beautiful and fashionable. This seems to further prove that these bodies are really not realistic at all.

    Also, I actually watched the show “Scouted” yesterday when it came on TV, and my girlfriend and I found ourselves commenting on the fact that all the girls that were scouted as models in the show seemed to be chosen because they had bodies that were abnormally tall and extremely thin. The scouts didn’t seem to care all that much about what the girls’ faces looked like because they ended up putting so much makeup on the girls for pictures and stuff anyway.

    Has anyone else watched other episodes of this show? Is it always like this? What was your opinion about it? (Maybe it is online and I can post a link or something, too… I’ll look into it.)

  4. I saw this the day before class and the saddest part was that I would have not noticed these flaws on H&M’s advertisements had I not read this. Generally I’m fairly observent however this didn’t strike me until I read what was wrong. I think this idea to change the color of one’s skin and add faces to the bodies is almost unethical and wrong. It adds to the problems with how girls view themselves due to media bias. It was a poor choice for H&M to do this. Furthering this false ideas of women’s bodies is not okay to do. I hope by this being publicized that other companies will choose not to follow in this as it is a poor use of today’s tools. The beauty of manipulation should be used for other projects that do not promote the objectification of women’s bodies.

    Similar to what people was said above beyond all it’s down right lazy. No one should ever turn to this idea just to promote clothing.

  5. This virtual manipulation of bodies is definitely worrisome because of the implications it may have in the near future. Though it’s still not a highly common practice among fashion companies, I could definitely see it becoming a norm given our society’s growing dependence and preference for technology. Just the other day I noticed that the union basement substituted it’s previous vending machines for some really tech savvy ones that allow you to make your selections on a huge touch screen. Everything is computerized nowadays, so it wouldn’t surprise me if clothing companies began using computer generated models more often, or even completely replaced the use of actual, real-life models. It’s scary to think that companies can have to ability to create what they deem an “ideal” body when there is already a set standard of beauty in mainstream culture that people struggle to uphold. Products such as shapewear and clothing trends to make bodies appear a certain shape are already reinforcing these ideals, and these virtual bodies are further contributing to this as well. These virtual bodies also reinforce the notion that women’s bodies SHOULD be changed. I guess the whole use of computerized bodies would not be as big of a deal if they included a greater diversity of body types (which I’m not sure if they do, but I doubt) including those that are big, small, tall, short, etc, much like in that hanes commercial where all the women in the commercial have more realistic, average body types. But even that is problematic in and of itself because there is always going to be some group left out given the diversity of bodies out there.

  6. So I agree with the fact that all of this is horrible and it should stop, but I see no difference in this than what has been done for years; we rarely look at pictures of models or celebrities that have not been airbrushed or Photoshoped. In the article Jennifer Ward, a rep for H&M, defended the images, calling them “virtual mannequins.” and that they do not plan on changing it but letting shoppers know that the models have been digitally changed. If this is the case then I think that every photo that has been altered should also have a disclaimer saying how it has been altered also, or we need to finally realize that the ideal body in the fashion industry needs to be redefined.

  7. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin on this issue. Generating models to look lik they have the “Perfect Body”? Really H&M? What makes this body image they are using perfect? By what means? Are these women they are using as the “face models” aware that this is the only purpose that they are serving? I personally would never agree to let someone just use my face and not my entire body. Like does that mean I’m not worth my entire body being used as a campaign model? I think not only is this process lazy but its not good business. I think this gives the company a bad name. This company has to bring in over about 14 million dollars in revenue and they aren’t willing to find real models? And not only finding these models that have the “perfect body” but as well as finding real bodies. This brings me back to all of the stereotypes of what is meant to be beautiful in this society. As if women don’t have enough stress trying to be comfortable with the skin they are in today, they do something like this? I think we as a society need to just do better. We need to stop putting emphasis on just the “skinny” women and uplift all women. And in doing so, not trying to mock the body type of a women (bringing back the pictures of the plus sized model eating chicken) and give them the same glory that is recieved by skinny girls. All together, we need and we must do better.

  8. This article is very interesting. I think the idea of perfection, which someone mentioned earlier, is very relevant for this article. The recruited models do not posses the level of perfection H&M feel they have to uphold. H&M is aware that human perfection does not exists, so the closest thing to perfect can be accomplished through computer technology. I feel this can have such a negative influence on the minds of individuals who are trying to imitate the looks of the H&M models. The model’s look is not able to be obtained because it is false and not humanly possible.

  9. Prior to reading this article, I really thought nothing of it. After reading it, I still feel the same way. I’ve been on the H&M website myself and I’ve used the “Dressing Room” (which the author failed to mention was where those images are located) virtual model to get a feel for how certain things would look paired together. It wasn’t always as convenient as I’d like it to be because I’m not shaped like the model at all and the way clothes looked on the model I knew would look totally different on me so it kind of threw me off when trying to style my imaginary self. But I took no offense. At most stores I shop at, probably 99%, all of the models in the advertisements are thin. I have grown to realize that I will never look like the model in the picture unless I can grow 6 more inches and slim down to a size 2. However, I feel as though I have a healthy body image. But I can empathize with those who may not feel as comfortable with their size and I understand why people would be bothered by the virtual models. But I honestly feel like this thing with H&M is being taken to seriously, especially when there are other popular stores doing the same thing in their advertisements and such. I agree that this method of virtual modeling is lazy, but I think it was done out of convenience. All the models for H&M are skinny anyway, what difference does it make if they choose to use one body type and change the face?

    For the sake of the “Dressing Room” on H&M, I think this “virtual decapitating” was simply done out of convenience, not to be intentionally offensive, because lets be honest here, H&M shouldn’t be alone in the ring of fire. Forever 21, Victorias Secret, Macy’s, etc., show skinny models in the majority of their ads and every one of them is photoshopped in one way or another so why should this be criticized so harshly?

  10. Unfortunately, this is nothing new I’ve read some similar articles on digital models. The strive for perfection has turned into an unethical procedure for companies. As a loyal consumer to some of the participating companies, I’ve questioned why do I shop at these location that continuously project false images to buyers? I’m 100% sure there are models out there who can deliver and have similar measurements to the digital one’s displayed. Working models are already under pressure to stay thin, and having to compete with a cyborg makes it worse. I mean how could you compete? If retouching wasn’t enough, now you have this mess to look at every time you log on a site. This is why women shouldn’t stress about size proportion. Strive for a healthy reality.

  11. Upon my initial reading of this post, I was inclined to think that the criticism regarding H&M’s use of digital models was unwarranted. The contemporary age of fashion has normalized the thin body type and, if anything, H&M is taking advantage of an efficient and practical way to display their purportedly high fashion clothing on the typified high fashion, slim body.

    However, after further analyzing the critiques of the digital model practice, I believe their criticism to be validated in the fact that the use of digital models supports some of the fundamental flaws of the fashion industry in general including the construction of beauty on the basis of thinness, whiteness, and youth. Individuality is something that should be rewarded and major fashion suppliers like H&M should not only be looking for physical models to represent them, but should also be emphasizing diversity in their model selection as this would eventually enable to them to reach a broader audience. The use of digital models constructs a false sense of beauty that is not realistic or attainable and serious consideration should go into their continued implementation.

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