H&M’s Male CEO Determined To Set New Curvy Model Standards


You may not recognize the face in the picture above, or his name, Karl Johan-Persson. He is the CEO of fashion giant H&M and he is also the man responsible for setting a healthy standard when it comes to models for the brand.

He recently spoke to the Metro about the company and where they are headed. The question about plus size models and healthy images of women came up and his responses were a FAR cry from those of disgraced Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries.

The Metro asked Persson his thoughts on “anorexic” models and whether he knew that both the fashion industry and consumers would take notice if he made a stand. While he admitted the company has made its mistakes, he acknowledged they are a large brand which has a major responsibility to its many consumers.

“We want to show diversity in our advertising and not give people the impression that girls have to look a particular way. By and large, I think we’ve succeeded: we’ve many different kinds of models from different ethnic backgrounds. In our last campaign we had a somewhat more buxom model, and now we’re having Beyoncé, who’s a bit curvier as well, ” he points out.

Persson doesn’t want to just have fuller-figured women and do away with the naturally thin ones, it is about keeping a healthy balance and promoting healthy figures.

“I believe that the models in our advertising should look sound and healthy. There are models who’re too thin or obviously underweight, but there are also those who’re just thin, and they’re the ones we should keep working with, as long as they look sound and healthy. We can get more disciplined, because sometimes there have been mistakes.”

Beyonce modeling H&M bikinis

He is confident that they can make a change and make a difference in the fashion industry. Being a huge brand definitely helps, and Persson himself giving these new healthy standards right from the top is what is needed: the big decision makers reflecting the needs of the people. Whether the rest of the fashion industry would listen to their voice remains to be seen, but it surely will make people take notice.

“I have to be honest and say that some of our models have been too skinny. That’s not OK. We’ve talked a lot about it here at H&M. I say, healthy model, always! And everyone here feels the same way.”

For Karl Johan-Persson, this is not just about turning a profit and lining his own pocket. He genuinely cares about his position and the messages they are putting out to the public. Which is why we think he is great!

“I want to feel proud today and when I leave H&M and look back at what we’ve done. I want to feel that we were the just company regarding our social responsibilities: caring about the environment, choice of models, social issues.”

There was a bit of controversy with Beyonce’s new campaign for the brand and we are glad she stood her ground. They chose her to front their new summer campaign and represent all the real women out there. When she heard they were going to photoshop her curves down a little, her people refused to give H&M permission to use the photos. In the end they relented and did not alter her figure at all. What you see in the photos is the real Mrs. Carter.

Like Persson has admitted, the company has made its mistakes, but if they are willing to listen to the consumers and the women who want to see accurate representations of themselves, then they are headed in the right direction.

The fact that they use a variety of women such as Supermodel Doutzen Kroes, Superstar Beyonce, and plus size overnight sensation Jennie Runk shows they are willing to represent a wider range of female body shapes and sizes. Support H&M who support real women! Hey Abercrombie, take note…

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