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Our un-airbrushed swimwear images revealed


Airbrush story

Ever looked at an image of a model and thought to yourself, “I could never look like that”? You’re not alone, and here at Debenhams we think that over use of certain digital photography techniques to create unrealistic imagery can make women feel insecure about their looks.

So to tackle this issue, we’ve decided to use un-airbrushed photography in our windows to launch new swimwear lines for the summer. Yet another way of showing our long standing commitment to encouraging positive body-image through minimal digital retouching.

We want to help customers make the most of their beauty without bombarding them with unattainable body images. As a rule we only airbrush minor things like pigmentation or stray hair and rely on the natural beauty of models to make our products look great.

Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and broadcaster, has contributed to the discussion saying, “Retailers do have the power to take a stance on digital manipulation. Fashion and beauty imagery that is honest, is absolutely crucial for all women to see.”

The windows will also show an example of just how much the image could have been altered; including all of the following:

  • Arms slimmed
  • Legs made thinner
  • Waist pulled in significantly
  • Stray hairs tidied
  • Skin tone changed and smoothed
  • Creases in garments removed
  • Under-eyes smoothed and lightened
  • Cleavage enhanced
  • Underarms tidied

Debenhams is very keen to promote positive body image – remember our trial with size 16 mannequins in windows and the images using disabled model Shannon Murray to launch the retailer’s new Principles by Ben de Lisi range. Britney and Madonna have both gone public with un-airbrushed images and we thought it’s about time we brought the idea to the mainstream.

The window has been unveiled this week at the Debenhams Oxford Street store and staff members will be asking shoppers what they think, before the initiative is later rolled out across the country.

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  • Jan [summerdaze] Spooner

    Airbrushed images look as if they are made of plastic – the real, untouched body picture looks warm, natural and far more attractive!

  • gem

    the girl looks lovely before her re-touch and wouldn’t of thought anything would have been done. when i first glanced at the pics i struggled to notice the difference. x

  • Meryl

    Why do you even need a trial? Be brave and start a revolution. Stop airbrushing entirely. I promise half your customers won’t even notice.

  • Nickkie Stewart

    thank goodness for Debenhams – plus size shop window dummy’s and now hopefully no more airbrushing. Let’s hope everyone else follows the trendsetters and get’s real with body images.

  • http://blog.debenhams.com Jenny, editor

    Thanks everyone for your votes and comments, it’s really interesting to hear your thoughts.

  • http://www.blahblahbecky.co.uk www.blahblahbecky.co.uk

    I think the model looks fantastic in the untouched photo – in the airbrushed one her legs are so out of proportion, they don’t even look like they could hold her up!

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