Away with airbrushing

SARAH MACKENZIE
Last updated 05:00 15/06/2013

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British retailer Debenhams has added fuel to the much talked about airbrush backlash by banning retouching on lingerie model shots.

The high-street department store has put an end to such images as they 'want to help customers feel confident about their figures without bombarding them with unattainable body images'.

They say the use of digital photography techniques to create unrealistic body shapes and flawless skin can make men and women feel more insecure about their natural looks and size. 

Debenhams has now called on its rivals to ban airbrushed images as well.

‘‘We want other retailers to follow suit and encourage positive body-image through minimal retouching,’’ said a spokesperson.

Debenhams previously ran trials with size 16 mannequins in windows and has also worked with disabled models and paralympians.

This move furthers the store's commitment to promoting positive body image and inclusivity.

‘‘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.

"As a rule we only airbrush minor things like pigmentation or stray hair and rely on the natural beauty of models to make our product look great.'

Debenhams' move comes just weeks after a row between Beyonce and H&M, following her recent swimwear campaign with the retail giant.

The singer reportedly hit the roof when she discovered the store had digitally altered the swimwear images and refused to approve anything but the originals. 

“As with all campaigns there are discussions on which images should be used. Both H&M and Beyonce are very happy with the final result,” said the brand in a statement.

Despite making her feelings about the use of airbrushing and Photoshop crystal clear, Beyonce found herself stripped of her trademark curves once again.

Designer Roberto Cavalli released an almost unrecognisable image of Beyonce wearing one of his creations for her upcoming tour.

The sketch sparked outrage from fans who struggled to understand why the designer penned her in such an unrealistic way.

Now interest lies in the response from the rest of the fashion industry and in whether products, such as lingerie, can sell just as well when modelled by real women who have not been retouched rather than the 'perfect' extensively airbrushed image that has become the norm. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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