Over the years we have become accustomed to the sight of super-skinny girls who are plastered on posters and billboards up and down the country in an attempt to sell us mere mortals a new product. Although I ashamed to admit it, more often than not for myself at least, this marketing ploy works – mostly because I just can’t help myself! A feeling which I’m sure many other women living in the UK can relate to.
While we may have become somewhat de-sensitised to the sights of small-waisted models who are airbrushed to the high heavens, it seems that the latest marketing campaign launched by H&M has finally drawn a line in the sand for the British buyers.
H&M’s new collection is being modelled by 26-year-old Aymeline Valade, who, over the course of her career, has worked on runways with the likes of Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Given her impressive portfolio of past projects, there is immediately no reason why she shouldn’t be the perfect face for the company’s new clothing campaign: that was the general consensus until the pictures of the campaign were released and chaos began.
The airbrushed pictures of the model sporting H&M’s latest fashions have left parents, fashion editors and health professionals alike in complete confusion. Given the negative response to the advertisement campaign, in which parents voiced their outrage not only at the petite size of the model in question, but also how ill and malnourished she appears in the photographs, H&M have released a statement in order to clarify some of the issues being raised. Their claim is that they only use healthy models that they think will work well with the collection, which, according to their statement, is what they thought young Aymeline would do. H&M claim they are merely trying to move forward in an ever-growing industry and that none of the models they use for their campaigns are ever significantly underweight. However it seems that despite their best efforts at damage control, their latest campaign may have done too much damage already with some buyers outright refusing to shop there given the inappropriate message the store seems to be sending out to young girls.
One concerned mother told the Daily Mail that she wouldn’t be allowing her daughter to shop there in the future; explaining that the standards they were setting for young girls seemed grossly inappropriate given how “gaunt” and “disturbingly thin” the model appears in this latest publicity move. While we are all aware of how competitive the fashion world can be, and how, despite denial from fashion officials, the girls seem to be getting progressively more thin, it seems that perhaps H&M, as a high-street retailer popular amongst many young girls, have taken the fashion trends to a disturbing extreme with this advertisement.