Debenhams Unveils Beauty Untouched?

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Hats off to high street retailer Debenhams, who recently revealed their new campaign for the summer swimwear lines for at their Oxford Street location in London.


The difference is that this is the first of its kind – a high street retail campaign featuring models that have not been retouched by airbrushing. The display includes the message: We’ve not messed with natural beauty; this image is un-airbrushed. What do you think


This comes as an important step in celebrating real beauty, and moving away from presenting unachievable depictions of the female form that bombard mainstream media.


Sam Woods, Director of Creative & Visual at Debenhams says, As a responsible retailer, Debenhams wants to help customers make the most of their beauty without bombarding them with unattainable body images… Our campaign is all about making women feel good about themselves – not eroding their self-belief and esteem by using false comparisons.


Their website includes a poll on retailers using airbrushed images. Over 86% of voters felt retailers should not retouch images at all, or that heavily altered images have a negative effect on body image.  The campaign also demonstrates how the image could have been altered, as a direct comparison to understand how frequently images are manipulated.


Although presenting a non-airbrushed model in the Oxford Street location is a step in the right direction, the model chosen to represent “real beauty” is still a bikini model, and has attributes that are disproportionately closer to the appearance and size of the average model than that of the average woman.


Recently, Debenhams has engaged with some fabulously forward-thinking projects  including the well-known trial run of displaying size 16 mannequins (the average British womens dress size.)  To truly, effectively combat unattainable standards and encourage body confidence for all women, a campaign such as this needs to celebrate the diversity of sizes and shapes of all women.


Peeling back the layer of airbrushing and showing the truth of images manipulation is a huge step in achieving this.  It is refreshing and encouraging that big name retailers are demonstrating a commitment to promoting positive body image.


For more information about this campaign, or to vote in the poll, please see the Debenhams website here.


Before - untouched  After - retouched

by Kate Donovan

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