For Debenhams lingerie, the camera never lies

Debenhams is breaking with industry standards by using non-airbrushed photos to promote its lingerie.

The high street retailer is avoiding excessive touch ups of photographs, which may involve everything from shrinking a model’s waist to enhancing cleavage and changing skin tone. The decision to use natural photos is another move towards inclusive advertising for Debenhams, which employs models in wheelchairs and places plus-sized mannequins in its shop windows.

Sharon Webb, Head of Lingerie buying and design for Debenhams, stated in a press release: “we want to help customers feel confident about their figures without bombarding them with unattainable body images.” There are also financial advantages to not air brushing photos, with Webb adding that “millions of pounds a year are spent by organisations retouching perfectly good images.”

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However, the store does alter some pictures slightly, but according to Webb, they “only airbrush minor things like pigmentation or stray hair and rely on the natural beauty of models to make our product look great.”

The retailer hopes its decision to use unaltered imagery prevents customers from experiencing insecurity by comparing their own bodies to the unrealistic photographs dominating the media. According to a study by the retailer, 70 percent of women feel pressured to achieve a “perfect” body by what they see on television and in magazines, but Webb states that Debenhams “will continue to present women in a natural and positive way” to buck the trend.

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