An H&M press representative told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that the company uses virtual bodies to display swimsuits and lingerie on their website.
The December 4 article, which Jezebel translated from Swedish to English, had quotes from press officer Hacan Andersson, who said, “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.”
In fact, the bodies of most of the models H&M features on its website are computer-generated and “completely virtual,” the company admitted.
H&M defended their technique by explaining that they designed a body that can better display clothes made for humans than can humans, similar to mannequins in department stores. They then “dress” the forms and digitally paste on the heads of real-life women.
According to Andersson, this ensures that the focus remains on the garments, not the models. However, it’s hard not to notice that every model has the exact same pose — left hand resting slightly below their waist, right arm straight and face looking directly ahead — and proportions.
Regardless, Nicole Christine, spokeswoman for H&M’s U.S. operations, told ABC News that H&M is not alone in its method.
“This technique can be found in use throughout the industry,” Christie said. “This is not to be seen as conveying a specific ideal or body type, but merely a technique to show our garments.”
Christie issued this statement to ABC in response to the criticism the company has endured since the Aftonbladet article.
“It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins should be real bodies. This is incorrect and has never been our intention. We will continue to discuss internally how we can be clearer about this in the information towards our customers.”