H&M: Real Head, Fake Body


H&M models


We all know the fashion industry has a funny way of forgetting about the real people. The real women who buy their products, have grumpy days and get a little fatter around Christmas. Well it seems H&M is no different, they have recently admitted to using digital, computer generated bodies for their products. Instead of using real models, they use fake, identical, flawless bodies which are then stuck on a real head.


Over the last decade, we have been brainwashed by the media to believe that one size is right, the small tiny frame seen on the likes of Milan catwalks. Not a single hair out of place, no blemishes to be seen and especially no cellulite. Our image conscious society has driven us to such extremes. The answer to all our flaws now seems to be, “Oh we can Photoshop that out”, a few clicks later you can look like a totally new person. It is this attitude that has flawed the fashion industry, I would much rather see someone looking real than a creepy digitalised version promoting the ‘perfect’ body.


H&M’s main customers are young, impressionable girls, all with a love of fashion, all who look at these images on a day to day basis.  These images are fuelling the need for girls to lose weight, stop eating and change who they are. Never mind a bit of photo-shopping here and there, now these girls have to compare themselves to computerised “perfection”. H&M have took this extreme beauty to the next level, by replacing a model altogether to create a ridiculous version of women.


H&M digital models from behind


H&M have said that ‘We take pictures of the clothes on a doll that stands in the shop, and then create the human appearance with a program on [a] computer . . . The message is clear: buy our clothes, not our models.’ I agree with their concept, to buy their clothes and not buy into their models, but making an idealised woman through a computer doesn’t exactly argue their case.  I don’t know about you, but seeing the exact body replicated over and over, with the same awkward hand position, shoulders tilted perfectly, belly button in exactly the same place is very weird.


The image they’re sending out isn’t positive, if models, with their perfect figures aren’t picture perfect enough, then why should the rest of the population be? I think this is a real error on their behalf, and a bad case of deja vu.


If women were like the digital versions H&M produced, not only would I miss my imperfections, the little things that make me me and you, you, the world would be one boring place. I’d rather be imperfect over boring any day.


  1. Catherine Noble says:

    It’s not up to H&M, or any other company, to deal with self esteem issues of young, impressionable girls. The more people keep blaming the fashion industry for this, instead of looking to educate young women in how to care for their bodies properly, to instill self worth, and to give them proper emotional nurturing, then the longer this issue will continue unresolved.

    Looking at the pictures in your post, I don’t see a “ridiculous version of women”. The computerised version is slim, yes, but not ridiculously so; the pictures do not show malnourished/anorexic women. In actual fact, I think your article could be portrayed as disrespectful to women who are of that size and shape, either through natural framing or who maybe work hard to obtain a body they can be proud of. And, if it is the latter, they should not be made to feel bad about it because it might make other girls feel inadequate somehow.

    And I don’t think H&M are telling the models that their bodies aren’t good enough for the campaigns; they have been assigned for face shots, and fulfil their assignment accordingly. As someone who is studying fashion communication and promotion, I would imagine you would understand the importance of aesthetics in the fashion industry.

    Well written post, though. Very thought provoking!

  2. Hanna Fowler says:

    Thanks for your comment!
    As a student of Fashion Communication I do understand how important image is to selling copies of magazines, for advertisements and marketing campaigns. And I don’t think this will ever change but I have seen some really interesting campaigns lately that reply not on the models but the concept behind them.
    For the ‘ridiculous’ comments about the images, I was more so commenting on the fact that the same body has been replicated 1000 times over, and I do think this is ridiculous because woman are all different shapes, not just the thin frame shown. Sorry if the article caused any offence to woman of that frame.
    I do think that H&M aren’t providing the right attitude, I think photo-shopping and manipulation in the fashion industry has gotten out of hand, but of course studying this area I know the good points and the bad. As you said, education should be improved about body image and self worth, maybe then disorders and other problems wouldn’t arise.
    Thanks for your input. I’m still learning!