UK Retailer Debenhams Bans Photoshop From All Its Campaigns

Photoshopping scandals are a dime a dozen these days, and it can affect a company’s sales drastically. This week the UK’s leading major retailer Debenhams have made a huge statement in vowing not to use any more photoshopped images in their campaigns going forward. They are specifically banning the retouching of all lingerie model images and only use light airbrushing to smooth our uneven skin or get rid of stray hairs.


There will be no more arm and leg thinning, teeth whitening or bust boosting! The reason they are doing this is because they want to help customers feel confident about their figures without bombarding them with unattainable body images. There have been many studies done to show that altered images can make men and women feel insecure about their natural bodies. If these retailers are trying to sell products to real customers, shouldn’t they market their apparel in a way that appeals rather than repels anyway?

Pre-teen girls skip meals in an effort to “stay thin” to keep up with all the harmful unrealistic images being thrown at them from the media and this has to stop. It’s about time major companies like Debenhams lead the way and make some changes. In fact, they are hoping other clothing giants will copy them and commit to portraying models in a more healthy way.

‘We want other retailers to follow suit and encourage positive body-image through minimal retouching rather than bombarding them with unattainable body images,’ said a spokesperson.

‘As well as being a positive from a moral point of view, it ticks the economic boxes as well. Millions of pounds a year are spent by organisations retouching perfectly good images,’ says Sharon Webb, Head of Lingerie buying and design for Debenhams.

‘Airbrushing and other trickery are not necessary in order for women to look beautiful,’ says lingerie designer, Aliza Reger.

‘Hopefully this act will demonstrate that products such as lingerie modelled by real women who have not been retouched can sell just as well as products advertised with extensive airbrushing, which has become the norm.

Debenhams previously ran trials with size 16 mannequins in windows and has worked with disabled models and paralympians and this move furthers the store’s commitment to promoting positive body image and inclusivity.

The retailer’s campaign is ‘all about making women feel fabulous about themselves rather than crushing their self-esteem by using false comparisons’.

Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, says: ‘Fashion and beauty imagery that is honest, is absolutely crucial for all women to see. Retailers have the power to take a stance on digital manipulation, so, I’m delighted that Debenhams has taken the lead here and customer feedback will no doubt validate this important step.’

This news follows closely on the heels of H&M CEO Karl Persson who said he is committed to using healthy models in their campaigns, as demonstrated by curvalicious Beyonce and Jennie Runk recently.

The fashion and retail industry is doing its customers a great service if they recognize the need for more healthy, realistic images to look up to. They should do away with the ridiculous images they use just to make us all feel anxious about ourselves. Anxious advertising is a marketing tool used by many companies, as it forces us to go and buy a product thinking it will make us look and feel better. Well we say it is time for some honest advertising where companies serve the needs of the people and appeal to who they are, not what they think they should be.

We love the campaigns that Dove are creating, promoting healthy body images and showing women that they are beautiful they way they are and we should celebrate our unique looks. In fact, their recent “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” campaign has become the most the most watched viral ad of all time, with over 100 million views, wow! Goes to show that there is a hunger, almost desperation for real women to see themselves in the products they buy.

Heck, even the world’s most powerful supermodel who is set to become the world’d first billionaire supermodel, Gisele Bundchen, doesn’t like the use of excessive photoshopping and recently did a shoot for a major european label sans hair and makeup just to prove a point! She thinks its our flaws and imperfections that make us “unique and beautiful” and we for one are celebrating the fact powerful companies and names in the fashion industry are recognizing this and using their platform to speak out.

ban photoshop

Do you think more retailers should commit to less photoshopping and airbrushing of their models? Has your self esteem or confidence been affected by what you see in magazines and on the internet?



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