• Sweden edition
H&M defends marketing lingerie with fake models

H&M defends marketing lingerie with fake models

Published: 06 Dec 2011 13:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2011 11:37 GMT+01:00

Swedish clothing retailer H&M has defended its use of computer-generated bodies adorned with the heads of real models in order to sell swimwear and lingerie.

“This is a technique that is not new, it is available within the industry today and we are using it for our Shop Online in combination with real life models pictures and still life pictures," said H&M press spokesperson Håcan Andersson to The Local on Tuesday.

The pictures are featured on the multinational clothing giant’s webpage and depict the computer-generated bodies sporting swimwear and lingerie. The figures, which are all adopting identical poses, are completed with the face of a real life model.

The only distinction between the models’ bodies is the pigment of their skin which has been adjusted to fit their faces.

Håcan Andersson told The Local that the firm will continue to use real life models - in their entirety and not just their heads - for current and future campaigns.

“For our Shop Online we are using a combination of real life models pictures, still life pictures and virtual mannequin pictures. For all other marketing and campaigns – outdoor, TV, print and other media, H&M will continue to use real life models.”

The pictures are featured on the multinational clothing giant’s webpage and depict the often idealized female of a thin and leggy form with eight different faces and sporting sporting swimwear.

The ruse was first exposed by Norwegian website Bildbluffen, during a campaign for underwear, and the revelations have generated significant interest in media outlets across the globe.

The firm however denied that the reason for adopting the method was due to difficulty in finding real-life models whose bodies fit the perceived advertising ideals.

“This is not about ideals or to show off a perfect body, we do this to demonstrate an item of clothing. This is done for all clothing, not just for underwear, both male and female clothing,” Andersson told the Aftonbladet daily on Monday.

The fashion industry is regularly criticised for using wafer-thin models in its advertising and H&M is among the firms who billboards are often targeted and defaced by activists.

In a debate article published in January 2011, Sweden's culture minister Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth called on consumers to "Boycott the fashion industry's sick beauty ideals", warning of the damaging effects on impressionable girls.

In a comment to Aftonbladet on Monday, Adelsohn-Liljeroth said:

"The fashion industry has a responsibility for the ideals which they choose to create and reinforce."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:29 December 6, 2011 by flintis
Doesn't make a difference whether they are computer generated or not, they do not represent the norm & entice gullible females to diet perpetually. Mind these look better then the ones one the kicks advert
15:34 December 6, 2011 by Svensksmith
They look kinda scrawny to me.
15:42 December 6, 2011 by Mark737408
how pathetic
16:48 December 6, 2011 by Just_Kidding
I as a dude dislike their skinny models, computer generated or real...
17:02 December 6, 2011 by McChatter
"..in order to sell swimwear." Is that swimwear they're wearing? Must get some new specs!
18:55 December 6, 2011 by dizzymoe33
Only 1% of the population is that thin the rest of us 99% have curves where a woman is suppose to have curves. Time to wake up and stop telling women that we all need to look like a computer generated model.
23:44 December 6, 2011 by JLondon
Sorry - computer generated or not,.... the one on the right is friggin hot!
00:40 December 7, 2011 by Grokh
the most beautiful thing in a womans body are their curves, and it is healthier for women to be on the lower end of their bmi.

the fashion industry as well as alot of other pop culture stuff are the main causes for so many women being so damm insecure, this is exploitation and there should clearly be guidelines to follow to protect young girls that think they need to look like a skelleton and buy stupid products to feel good about themselves.
09:27 December 7, 2011 by spo10
Funny that they needed real human heads to put on top of fake bodies. Get real H&M. Just computerize the whole damn models.
12:20 December 7, 2011 by dobermann
I would rather see curvy computer generated body than this zero size teenager bul..it. And this is lingerie not just clothes, you need curves if you want to show it..A good example is Victoria's Secrets..
14:57 December 7, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
I protest most strongly!

One of the computer-generated models looks exactly like my partner.

20:41 December 7, 2011 by big5
"The fashion industry is regularly criticised for using wafer-thin models in its advertising "

wafer-thin, LOL! (Mr Creosote, anyone?)

that metaphor just doesn't work with people. Anyhow stop whining Swedes. There will always be pretty people. It's not fair. Get over it.
10:58 December 8, 2011 by yourkidding
The fashion industry is really messed up but these photos sadly aren't as emaciated as many real models you see on the runways. There have been several instances of models used by famous designers actually dropping dead because their bodies were so starved they had started to feed off their own muscle (the heart is a muscle) and as a result they went into cardiac arrest right on the runway and died. It is a sick society when the "ideal" women looks like an auschwitz survivor.
13:04 December 8, 2011 by big5

Thanks for expressing what I was thinking. Those H&M models look healthy. Not even very skinny. There's nothing to get upset about IMO.
13:29 December 8, 2011 by BritVik
Let's face it, would you buy anything if the models were full of flab???
16:09 December 9, 2011 by foxpur
I wonder if the models who get the face used get paid full?
17:38 December 9, 2011 by tadchem
I knew a lingerie model in high school. She modelled ladies undergarments for a nationally-distributed catalog. She had a killer body but a face that could stop a grandfather clock. On a scale of 1 to 10, she earned a 9, but that was ALL below the neck.

There can be good reasons for photoshopping one models head on anothers body.
11:07 December 10, 2011 by wakak
Come on, there are so many pretty women in Sweden, it should not be difficult to find some nice ones for pictures.

Or is it that no pretty woman wants to get photographed wearing H&M clothes? This I would understand better.
21:07 December 10, 2011 by Cage
I don't see a problem with it. Isn't the point to look at the clothes? Who cares if the models are photoshopped and/or computer generated? Makes no sense.
08:43 December 11, 2011 by Lavaux
If the fashion industry has a responsibility for the artificial ideals it creates and promotes, shouldn't politicians have a responsibility for the artificial ideals they create and promote? Socialism is an entirely artificial ideal that does more harm than good, but you'll never see a socialist politician accept responsibility for the harm done.

BTW, why should the ideal woman be chubby, dowdy, nosey, bossy and hostile to bowth her natural femininity and assumed masculinity? Why can't the feminists let us guys take a break from their constant assault on our nature to enjoy a few momentary and fleeting fantasies involving us ravishing a fit, feminin hotty? C'mon guys, we've got to start pushing back against the feminazis before they strip us of all self-respect for our masculine nature. The gentlemanly passive-agressive approach isn't slowing them down.
19:19 December 12, 2011 by Beachhannah
I noticed that the clothes didn't sit right on the models, I thought they looked abit robotic. I don't think they should be computer generated, computers are already cutting out so many other industries. But if they are going to do it, do it properly and not botchy.
04:29 December 19, 2011 by yourkidding
@ Lavaux

Are you saying that if you are not a model then you are an ugly femminist?

Actually, it might be cool to see more fit, hot buff guys instead of balding, beer gutted,loudmouthed, aging, hypocritical men who are no male models themselves but feel it's justified for them to get older, flabbier and more wrinkled, but God forbid a woman does. Grab a brain.
Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
People-watching April 16
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
Abba duo hints at reunion
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
People-watching April 11-13
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit: